HC Deb 07 July 1953 vol 517 cc1036-7
23. Mrs. Mann

asked the President of the Board of Trade the reason for the reduction in our exports of fully-fashioned nylon stockings from £2,757,557 for the first five months of 1951 to £1,760,688 during a similar period this year.

Mr. H. Strauss

The chief reasons are the change from a sellers' market to a highly competitive buyers' market and import restrictions imposed in the countries of some of our best customers. The figures quoted by the hon. Member exclude goods sent by parcel post. The total figures for the first five months of this year, though lower than the corresponding figures for 1951, are 35 per cent. higher than last year.

Mrs. Mann

Is the hon. and learned Gentleman aware that I have here some figures from the Trade and Navigation Accounts, and I think that they are perfectly correct. Is he further aware that a greatly increased export trade could be had by British manufacturers if they manufactured the fish-net, non-ladder stocking which is much more durable wearing nylon stocking, and can he explain why they are not entering into that trade?

Mr. Strauss

I hope that the hon. Lady does not think that I am complaining about her figures. I was merely pointing out that she was not giving the total figures to which I referred in my answer. The manufacturers concerned are very eager to get as great an export trade as possible, and I think that they must be assumed to know their own business and what goods will sell best.

Sir T. Moore

Do not those figures mean that more nylons are being made available and are being worn by the hon. Lady and her friends in the country?

Mr. Stokes

Has the hon. Gentleman any information to show how many pairs of these stockings go all the way to Gibraltar and come back again before they are sold?

Mr. Strauss

I certainly have not those figures now, but I will look into the point which the right hon. Gentleman has raised.

Mr. Assheton

Is it not the case that, although the quality of our yarn is just as good as that in America, we have not been allowed the dollars with which to buy suitable machinery? Are not many of our stocking manufacturers suffering as a result of that?