HC Deb 06 April 1948 vol 449 cc24-5
49. Mr. Osborne

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware of the new policy of the Raw Cotton Commission of bringing its selling prices into line with those at present ruling in the principal producing countries; how he reconciles this with the previous policy of stabilising domestic prices; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Belcher

With regard to the first part of the Question, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given on 25th March to my hon. Friend the Member for Spen Valley (Mr. Sharp). With regard to the second part of the Question, the prices of raw cotton to spinners were changed from time to time in the past by the Cotton Control and I have no reason to doubt that the Raw Cotton Commission will continue in the future to give due weight to the desirability of avoiding unnecessary disturbances of domestic prices.

Mr. Osborne

Is it proposed, in the case of other industries, to adopt this new price control for other raw materials owned by the Government; and is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that this increase in the price of cotton is making it difficult to sell our exports, especially in Canada and America?

Mr. Belcher

As regards the second part of the supplementary question, we are aware that rises in the price of raw cotton must have a disturbing effect, if not a completely adverse effect, upon the prices of our exported goods, and might interfere with the possibility of exporting to dollar countries. The first part of the supplementary question raises a large issue, and a Question should be put down on the Order Paper; it is certainly not one for me to answer.