HC Deb 12 February 1953 vol 511 cc572-3
9. Air Commodore Harvey

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on the general position in the textile industry, with emphasis on the export trade.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

I am glad to say that by the end of 1952 production of textiles and clothing had increased by over 40 per cent. and exports by about 20 per cent., from the levels to which they had dropped during the recession, although exports to many markets are still hampered by import restrictions. While all of us in this House will welcome this recovery, we should all agree that it is vitally important that all sections of the textile industries should continue to make the greatest possible efforts to increase their competitive power. With such efforts, I am confident that, in spite of growing competition from other countries, we can continue to look to our textile industries for a very substantial contribution to the export trade.

Air Commodore Harvey

While thanking my right hon. Friend for his reply and expressing the view that no doubt everybody will be glad to hear of the improvement, may I ask him if he knows that many sections of the industry are still finding it extremely difficult to export because of the high rate of Purchase Tax on the home market, where sales are essential if we are to export well? Would he pass on that information to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and see what can be done about it?

Mr. Thorneycroft

I think that that raises rather a separate question from that on the Order Paper.