HC Deb 17 February 1959 vol 600 cc169-70
Mr. Drayson

It is my privilege to address to this honourable House a Petition signed by 3,000 of my constituents, inhabitants of the Urban District Council of Barnoldswick. The Petitioners are largely dependent for their livelihood on the textile industry.

They point out that, in 1945, workers, operatives and managements were asked to increase their production of exports but that during the last six years there have been considerable reductions in exports and that foreign competitors now manufacture for themselves. They say: At the same time there has been an increase of duty-free imports from Commonwealth and colonial sources produced in territories where there are lower wages and lower standards of living. This has resulted in widespread depression during the past few years and ten out of 22 weaving firms in this town have closed down. The position recently has been aggravated by the destruction by fire of a mill employing several hundred weavers. Unemployment figures do not show a complete picture owing to short-time working and underemployment, as well as to certain classes of married women who do not figure on the register. They say: Your Petitioners therefore humbly pray that your Honourable House will take action without delay to limit the import of cheap textiles produced under unfair competitive conditions and will devote itself to saving the cotton towns in the country from becoming derelict, by taking prompt action to stimulate and revive the cotton industry. And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray.

To lie upon the Table.