HC Deb 26 April 1967 vol 745 cc1578-9
7. Mr. Robert Howarth

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will introduce legislation requiring the comprehensive and accurate labelling of textile goods to protect the public; and if he will follow this up with a publicity campaign to ensure that people do not inadvertently buy cheap imported goods of poor quality.

Mr. Jay

I intend to seek powers in the Protection of Consumers (Trade Descriptions) Bill to require goods of any description to be labelled with information for the benefit of consumers. The need for publicity will be considered at the time.

Mr. Howarth

I thank my right hon. Friend for that encouraging reply, but is he aware that much of the labelling of textile goods is either non-existent for indication of origin or is rather misleading, coming under the heading of, "Made in the British Empire", whatever that means?

Mr. Jay

I agree that our powers to control this kind of thing are at present inadequate. This is why we are anxious to introduce further legislation as soon as possible.

Sir C. Osborne

I sympathise with the textile workers of Lancashire on this issue and with workers in other parts of the country, but how can the Indian textile workers rise out of their deep poverty if we refuse to buy their goods?

Mr. Jay

That is another question which the hon. Gentleman can answer just as well as I can.

Mr. Frank Allaun

Is my right hon. Friend aware that these imported cotton goods are being bought dirt cheap because of low wages in Portugal, yet they are being sold at such a high margin of profit that the consumer in this country does not benefit?

Mr. Jay

My hon. Friend knows that we now have a far tighter system of import control on cotton textiles than we have ever had before.