HC Deb 07 February 1956 vol 548 cc1485-6
16. Air Commodore Harvey

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on the current position of the textile industry, including silk and rayon.

Mr. Walker-Smith

The position in the cotton and rayon industry of Lancashire has, I am glad to say, improved recently and there is less short-time working. I understand that the position in the silk industry has also improved and that there is some shortage of labour. The wool industry continues to maintain a high level of activity.

Air Commodore Harvey

Whilst thanking my hon. and learned Friend for that Answer, may I say that he was not quite accurate in what he said about the silk trade? Will he confirm or deny that the Italians have applied for a 10 per cent. reduction in the tariff for artificial silk tissues and, further, whether if this reduction is given it will lead to considerable hardship in the silk industry, which is suffering quite a bit?

Mr. Walker-Smith

1 should be grateful to my hon. and gallant Friend if he would put a Question on the Order Paper about the Italian position.

Mr. Bottomley

Can the hon. and learned Gentleman say whether, taking into account his optimistic statement, he had regard to the Danish Government, who have intimated that they may not be able to take textiles in view of the policy of the British Government in regard to bacon?

Mr. Walker-Smith

My Answer took into account all relevant considerations.