HC Deb 31 January 1952 vol 495 cc338-9
5. Air Commodore A. V. Harvey

asked the President of the Board of Trade what discussions he has had with the representatives of the silk and rayon industries regarding the recession of trade; and what action he proposes to take to deal with these difficulties.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

I recently met representatives of all sections of the rayon industry for a discussion of their problems, and I have received a comprehensive memorandum from the Silk and Rayon Users' Association which I am considering. I am well aware of the difficulties which these industries, in common with the rest of the textile trades, are facing at the present time; but they arise mainly from the unwillingness of the public to buy, and can only be resolved ultimately by a revival of demand at home and abroad.

Air Commodore Harvey

While being grateful for what my right hon. Friend has said, may I ask him whether he will use his influence to bring other industries into the Macclesfield area, where there is great unemployment, which has been building up for the last six months?

Mr. Thorneycroft

I think there was a debate on that particular aspect of the subject a short time ago.

Mr. Hugh Gaitskell

Would the right hon. Gentleman draw the attention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to the importance of reviving demand at home for these industries?

Mr. Ellis Smith

Did the Minister see the latest economic review, published by the United Nations, which states that part of the trouble of the textile industry arises from the large amount of speculation? Will he therefore hesitate to take the action which some hon. Members are pressing him to take and which would encourage speculation?

Mr. Thorneycroft

The largest part of the problem of the textile industry is that there are not sufficient people throughout the world buying textiles.