§ 1. Mr. Stanley Prescott
asked the Minister of Labour how many additional operatives are now required in the spinning, weaving and finishing sections of the Lancashire textile industry; and what steps the Government is taking to fill these requirements.
§ The Minister of Labour (Mr. Isaacs)
No substantial increase is expected to be required in the size of the labour force of the Lancashire cotton industry in 1950. The main task will be to recruit sufficient workers to offset wastage. We shall continue to encourage school leavers to enter the industry, to recruit adult British workers and to supplement this so far as necessary by supplying female European volunteer workers. Progress so far this year is satisfactory.
§ Mr. Prescott
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that many families in Lancashire will not put their children into the textile industry because they are apprehensive about future Japanese competition? Will the right hon. Gentleman consult the Foreign Secretary and try to make a statement on this matter?
§ Mr. Isaacs
It is the first I have heard of that particular reason, but the fact is that the entry of children into the industry is increasing considerably. General manpower in the industry increased in January of this year by 2,500.
§ Mr. Sydney Silverman
Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that such apprehensions as there are are based on the still lively recollection in Lancashire of heavy unemployment, heavy part-time employment and starvation wages and that the best guarantee—[HON. MEMBERS: "Speech."]—that the best guarantee to the Lancashire labour for—[HON. MEMBERS: "Speech."] On a point of Order. I would like to ask a supplementary question, Mr. Speaker. Is [HON. MEMBERS: "Speech"]—is it in Order that I should be constantly interrupted?
§ Mr. Silverman
Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."]—that the best service he can render to the maintenance of the labour force in Lancashire is—
§ Mr. Sutcliffe
Is the right hon. Gentleman giving close attention to the possible effect on the future employment of our own people of any further admissions of displaced persons to this industry?
§ Mr. Isaacs
Most decidedly. Considering the total number in the industry, and the number of European voluntary workers, there is no need to be apprehensive on that score at all.
§ Mr. Awbery
Is the Minister aware that after the First World War a large amount of the textile machinery was sent from Lancashire to Japan, to compete against us?