HC Deb 19 July 1962 vol 663 cc634-5
39. Mrs. Castle

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will take steps to amend the Merchandise Marks Act so as to ensure that all cotton garments sold in Great Britain are marked with the country of origin of both the garment and the cloth.

Mr. Erroll

I have noted the hon. Member's suggestion for consideration in the light of the recommendations of the Molony Committee.

Mrs. Castle

Has not waiting for Molony become a Ministerial disease? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this kind of action, taken now, is urgently needed to help to restore confidence in Lancashire? Is he aware that merchants are making large fortunes by importing grey cloth which, when processed, does not have to carry the mark of origin and certainly does not have to carry it when made up into a garment, so that the British consumer who wants to buy British textiles is not able to identify them? Why cannot the right hon. Gentleman take action immediately?

Mr. Erroll

Because it seems sensible, having appointed a Committee to go into the matter, that we should await a" study of its recommendations.

Mr. Jay

Does the right hon. Gentleman expect that this Government will still be in office when the Molony Committee reports?

Mr. Erroll

Yes, Sir. I have every hope of that.

Sir C. Osborne

Is my right hon. Friend aware that much of this grey cloth, of which hon. Members from Lancashire complained, is produced by the work of Commonwealth citizens?— [Interruption.]— How can hon. Members opposite want to prevent them from earning a living when they want them to be allowed into this country as immigrants in unlimited numbers?

Mr. Speaker

I think there was a question underlying that noise. I do not know whether the Minister desires to answer it.

Mr. Erroll

I have made a note of the question which was put.