HC Deb 25 July 1957 vol 574 cc574-5
17. Mr. Kirk

asked the President of the Board of Trade what evaluation he has made of the effect on the paper sack industry of the recent changes in jute control.

Sir D. Eccles

The changes referred to are likely to make imported jute sacks cheaper and should therefore improve their competitive position against substitutes. The precise effect on paper sacks which I cannot estimate will depend on a variety of commercial factors.

Mr. Kirk

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that the paper sack industry is very worried about this development? In circumstances like this, would it not be better to have consultations with other industries likely to be affected by moves of this kind?

Sir D. Eccles

The paper sack industry got a measure of fortuitous protection. It would be impossible to consult all the industries with contrary interests and expect to get any kind of decision.

Mr. Strachey

Does the right hon. Gentleman now agree that his move to dismantle jute control is obviously pleasing nobody.

Mr. Nabarro

It is pleasing me.

Sir J. Duncan

Is my right hon. Friend aware that in the opinion of the jute trade the mark-down is not sufficient to make any inroads into the paper bag trade? The jute industry is very worried by the statement he made last week and wants an early assurance that the markdown will at any rate be permanent for the next few years.

Sir D. Eccles

My hon. Friend the Member for South Angus (Sir J. Duncan)had better speak to our hon. Friend the Member for Gravesend (Mr. Kirk), because the hon. Member for Gravesend evidently feels that it will have some effect on the paper trade. We must see how it goes on. It is impossible to give an assurance for some years.