§ 3.20 p.m.
§ Order of the Day for the Third Reading read.
§ THE MINISTER WITHOUT PORT-FOLIO (THE EARL OF DUNDEE)
My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill he now read a third time.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 3a.—(The Earl of Dundee.)
§ LORD SHEPHERD
My Lords, this is not an occasion, particularly this afternoon with so much pressing Business, to make a long speech on the cotton industry. But I should like to ask again the question which I asked in the first instance on the Second Reading of this Bill. This Bill, as we know, is to enable the Government to bring certain Orders before the House regarding the various sections of the cotton industry. In many respects these Orders will be blank cheques, worth in total £30 million to £40 million of Government money. Normally these Orders are placed before the House without a great deal of explanation. The problems in the various sections are very great. There are many difficult problems that have got to be answered, and I would ask the noble Earl whether he would again approach the Minister, so that when we have these Orders placed before this House we have a White Paper setting out first of all the cotton industry proposals and then the views of the Board of Trade. I believe we need that information if the House is to do its job properly in passing these Orders.
§ THE EARL OF DUNDEE
My Lords, as I explained to the noble Lord on Second Reading, it is hoped that three draft reorganisation schemes, for the spinning section, the weaving section and the doubling section, will all be approved by both Houses of Parliament before the end of this month, so the time is very short. I should not have thought that 946 a White Paper would be possible in the time available, or indeed that the particular details of the proposals would be the kind of thing suitable for a White Paper. I do not know how far the draft reorganisation schemes will be self-explanatory. The spinning scheme I hope may perhaps be published in a few days; it is practically ready. The others will, I hope, be ready very soon, and I am quite certain that my right honourable friend the President of the Board of Trade will want to do everything he can to enable Members of both Houses to have every possible chance of understanding the schemes thoroughly before they are discussed. Whether some explanatory memorandum would be necessary or desirable, I cannot say, but I will certainly convey to my right honourable friend what the noble Lord has said, and I have no doubt whatever that he will take every possible step he can to make it as easy as possible for everybody to have the chance of understanding what these reorganisation schemes are all about.
VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLS-BOROUGH
My Lords, may I take it that when the moment arrives for laying these draft schemes, in view of the previous debate we have had at an earlier stage of the consideration of the Bill in this House, the explanations will enable us to discover what negotiations there have been between the different section: of the industry, all of which, apparently, are to have separate schemes of reorganisation, and how far in the different schemes they have taken into account representations of the other sections of the industry than the one covered by the particular scheme and how they will be affected; and, more particularly, what progress, if any, has been made in the basic reorganisation to induce a greater amount of vertical combination of these processes in this very important industry.
§ THE EARL OF DUNDEE
My Lords, all the schemes are drafted by a special committee of the Cotton Board, which is acting as the Government's agent in this matter. The Cotton Board and its special committee are not, of course, concerned with any one particular section of the industry; they are equally in touch with all sections.
§ On Question, Bill read 3a, and passed.