HC Deb 21 July 1949 vol 467 cc1552-3
58. Mr. De la Bère

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will now consider abandoning yarn control.

The President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Harold Wilson)

I understand that the hon. Member is referring to the allocation system for cotton yarn. This control is still necessary to ensure the production of utility cloth and other essential cotton goods. It will be discontinued as soon as it is no longer required.

Mr. De la Bère

Will the right hon. Gentleman do something to ensure that it is discontinued at an early date in view of the fact that it is doing more damage than it is doing good?

Mr. Wilson

I do not accept that criticism, but I am quite sure the whole House would wish me to ensure that utility production is guaranteed.

Mr. S. Shephard

Since raw wool is off control altogether can the Minister say when he proposes to abolish the Wool Control?

Mr. Wilson

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will put a Question down about the Wool Control.

59. Mr. De la Bère

asked the President of the Board of Trade, whether, in order to maintain the present rate of exports of hosiery and cotton goods, he will assist manufacturers by lowering the price he is charging for yarn and cotton so as to enable them to compete in world markets.

Mr. H. Wilson

The Board of Trade do not sell cotton yarn, and there is no longer any statutory control over its price. Raw cotton prices are a matter for the Raw Cotton Commission, but I understand that the prices they charge spinners in this country are in line with current world prices.

Mr. De la Bère

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that quite recently he got away with camouflage by pretending that the Commission had done something different? Why does he not give us the real figures of what the Commission has been doing? We in this House are entitled to know it; let us have no more camouflage.

Mr. Wilson

I should have thought that if the hon. Gentleman is really interested he would have found all the information he requires in the trade papers.

Mr. Osborne

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that it is not the price of yarn which is making it difficult to sell hosiery abroad, but the fact that the Canadian and American buyers will not buy because they are afraid of the devaluation of sterling? Would the right hon. Gentleman help in that matter?