HC Deb 20 May 1952 vol 501 cc252-3
26. Mrs. White

asked the Secretary of State for War if he is aware that there is severe unemployment in the rayon industry; that for some articles it is possible to substitute rayon or rayon mixture for cotton, thus effecting a considerable saving in dollars; that the substitution of rayon staple for cotton would not have an adverse effect on the spinning and weaving sections of the textile industry; and if, in the light of these considerations, he will take immediate steps to see that specifications for textile goods ordered by his Department are reviewed with the intention of substituting rayon wherever possible.

Mr. Head

We are in close touch with the Ministry of Supply about this. They have a number of projects for substituting variouse synthetic fibres for cotton. It is hoped that some of these projects will result in more extensive use of rayon and other fibres in textile goods supplied to the Army.

Mrs. White

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that if he follows the good advice contained in the Question he will not only help a depressed industry, but will also save money on his Departmental Estimate?

Mr. Head

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Strachey

Can the right hon. Gentleman tell us what has happened to the cotton battledress that was being tried out and had to be held up owing to the difficulty of supplying cotton goods—which is not now the case—and which, I should have thought, would have been of use to the Army and of service to the cotton and rayon industry?

Mr. Head

The present lines of research are directed to getting a battledress which can be universally used in tropical and arctic climates, under which more or less clothing is worn according to the climate. That is going ahead at the moment; the only trouble is that the trousers wear out too quickly.