HC Deb 29 January 1948 vol 446 cc1174-5
Mr. Scott-Elliot

asked the President of the Board of Trade when it is proposed to set up development councils for the woollen and worsted, pottery and hosiery industries.

Mr. H. Wilson

Discussions with these industries are taking place at present. I cannot yet say how soon I shall be able to make public my proposals.

Mr. Scott-Elliot

Will the right hon. Gentleman say that he regards this as a matter of real urgency in the interests of producing a greater degree of efficiency in these industries?

Mr. Wilson

Yes, Sir, I regard it as a matter of very great urgency, and have personally been having conversations with most of the industries concerned. I do not think it is any secret that we have run into fairly strong opposition from certain employers' organisations. I should like to get on with it as quickly as possible, although I should prefer to get on with it by agreement, perhaps more slowly, than by forcing the issue.

Mr. A. Edward Davies

Will the Minister give an assurance that there will be no undue delay in bringing development councils into being, despite the difficulties he is meeting?

Mr. Wilson

Yes, Sir, we shall certainly do so with no undue delay.

Dr. Barnett Stross

Does my right hon. Friend accept the principle of the desirability of affording executive powers to these development councils in each of the industries?

Mr. Wilson

The powers and functions of development councils were laid down quite clearly in the relevant Act passed last Session. I think all the industries know exactly what are the powers and functions.

Mr. M. F. Titterington

Is the right hon. Gentleman taking steps to secure the considered opinion of the organisations representative of employers and employees in all the industries to which the Question refers, irrespective of the working party report which has been issued?

Mr. Wilson

Yes, Sir. In each case I personally have met organisations from both sides of the industry.

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