HC Deb 18 January 1949 vol 460 cc32-3
55. Mr. W. Fletcher

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he has considered the statement made in his annual report, of which a copy has been sent to him, by the president of the Lancashire Cotton Corporation; and whether he will now take the necessary steps to consider favourably the re-opening of the Liverpool Cotton Exchange.

Mr. H. Wilson

I have not received a copy of this report, but have seen a Press summary of it. When purchasing cotton, the Raw Cotton Commission are faced with currency difficulties in some markets and shortage of supplies or export restrictions in others. Whatever the arrangements for purchasing, these difficulties would exist, and I have no reason to suppose that the re-opening of the Liverpool Cotton Exchange, would assist matters in any way.

Mr. Fletcher

Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that one of the leading personalities whose name was mentioned when the Liverpool Cotton Exchange was closed is a director of this new corporation that has now come out against it, and would he, therefore, himself reconsider the advisability of re-opening the Cotton Exchange at Liverpool and thus get over some of the handicaps that now exist?

Mr. Wilson

I do not think that major changes of policy, for which no case whatever exists, should depend on the change in view of a single individual.

Mr. Churchill

Why is it necessary to go on with this act of party spite which has been proved to cost us all so much?

Mr. Wilson

I was not aware that there was any party spite in this measure. If the cost to which the right hon. Gentleman refers is the high cost of cotton I would remind him of what he is probably already aware, that the price of wool has increased even more than cotton and that wool is bought in a free market.

Mr. Fletcher

In view of the purposely deceptive last remark of the right hon. Gentleman, I beg to give notice that I shall raise the matter on the Adjournment at the earliest possible moment.