HC Deb 06 July 1954 vol 529 cc1946-7
8. Mr. Janner

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that there are now machines standing idle in the glove factories of Leicester as the result of competition from Hong Kong; and what steps he is now prepared to take to enable the glove industry to continue in Leicester and elsewhere.

Mr. Amory

I am aware that some glove knitting machinery in Leicester is at present standing idle, but I do not know how much of this is due to competition from Hong Kong. I have no reason to suppose that the existence of the glove industry is seriously threatened.

Mr. Janner

Will the Minister make further inquiries about this? Is he aware that in Hong Kong the workers are receiving about one-eighth of what the workers in Leicester get? Further, is he aware that these gloves are being imported now at about 20s. a dozen whereas they were 36s. a dozen in 1953? Is he also aware that the trade in Leicester is very deeply concerned about this and that quite a number of people have had to go to other employment?

Mr. Amory

I should be very interested in any evidence that can be sent to me either by the hon. Member or by the trade, but I would remind the hon. Gentleman that Hong Kong is a Colony within the Commonwealth and I really cannot hold out any hopes that it will be possible to put restrictions on imports from Hong Kong.

Mr. Colegate

Would the Minister say whether he is of the opinion that, with the liberalisation of East-West trade, there will not be still stronger competition with this country?

Mr. Amory

I think that we must wait and see how the situation develops.