HC Deb 02 March 1954 vol 524 c985
7. Mr. Albu

asked the President of the Board of Trade what steps Her Majesty's Government are taking to assist Lancashire to develop new industries; and so to prepare for the new pattern of trade made necessary by the loss of Britain's traditional markets.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

I do not accept the hypothesis which seems to underlie this Question, that a decline in the cotton textile industry is inevitable. The three areas in Lancashire which have been scheduled as Development Areas will, of course, continue to benefit from the Distribution of Industry Acts.

Mr. Albu

Is the President aware that the wording of my Question is very similar to words in a speech made by the Minister of State, Board of Trade, in Lancashire only last week? Does it mean that there is no common view in the right hon. Gentleman's Department about the future of the textile industry in Lancashire, and that there has been no planning at all for the changes which are inevitable in the next few years?

Mr. Thorneycroft

There is complete unanimity in the Board of Trade about the future of Lancashire. The view is that Lancashire has a good future and that many markets are open to it. I do not accept the hypothesis that Lancashire is faced with an inevitable decline, as would seem to be implied in the Question.

Mr. Albu

Does that mean that the President does not agree with the words in my Question, and that he does not agree with his right hon. Friend?