HC Deb 07 December 1953 vol 521 cc1623-4

3.49 p.m.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade (Mr. Henry Strauss)

I beg to move,

That the Draft Lace Industry (Scientific Research Levy) (Amendment No. 2) Order, 1953, a copy of which was laid before this House on 23rd November, be approved.

This Order amends the Order which was first imposed in 1951 for funds for scientific research and it brings in about £10,000 a year. The levy in this case also is calculated for some sections by reference to yarn acquired in a base year and for others by reference to the number of machines standing during the period in which the levy is payable. This method of allocation was agreed in the industry as the most equitable. This Order changes the base year from 1951 to 1952 and makes appropriate adjustments in the rates so that the amount levied on each section of the industry remains approximately as before. The proceeds of this levy go to the Lace Research Association which is financed partly by this levy, partly by contributions direct from the industry and partly by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research. I think that it is generally agreed that the Association is doing excellent work.

3.50 p.m.

Mr. Harold Wilson (Huyton)

It seems to us that exactly the same arguments apply to this Order as to the previous one and the hon. and learned Gentleman has confirmed that it is a question of bringing the levy up-to-date. He has assured us that all the interests concerned in the industry accept that. I have taken the opportunity of finding out whether the trade unions in the industry, which were very much concerned in the original discussions on the provision for research in this industry, also agree to what is proposed. I understand that they have no complaint to make about the suggestions.

I should like to ask the hon. and learned Gentleman whether he was quite satisfied that 38s. 8d. was right in place of 37s. 3d.

Mr. Strauss indicated assent.

Mr. Wilson

We know the hon. and learned Gentleman is very good at splitting words when we are considering the verbal parts of Orders. I should have liked to have seen whether he was equally good at splitting figures. However, I do not think this is the time or place to do so. I take it, since he nods so emphatically, that the Board of Trade and the lace industry have got the figures right and that on this occasion he personally checked the calculations. In the light of the implication of his indication of assent, unless my hon. Friends have any important points to raise, I can say that we on this side of the House are content to accept what the hon. and learned Gentleman has proposed.

Question put, and agreed to.