HL Deb 20 December 1961 vol 236 cc744-6

3.23 p.m.


My Lords, your Lordships will have heard the Clerk call the Wool Textile Industry (Scientific Research Levy) (Amendment) Order, 1962, and it is the Order for that year that I propose to move. I beg your Lordships' indulgence for the misprint on the Order Paper, where it is described as the Order of 1961.

My Lords, the only effect of this Order will be to increase by one-third the rates of the levy for scientific research payable by the wool textile industry. The Order is to be made under Section 9 of the Industrial Organisation and Development Act, 1947. It has been prepared at the request of the Wool Textile Delegation, which represents some 85 per cent. of the employers in the industry, and has the support of the trade unions representing those employed in the industry.

The levy, first introduced in 1950, is raised partly from suppliers of wool—that is to say the merchants, not the farmers—and partly from processors of wool. The amount collected under the levy is now no longer sufficient to maintain the present scope and standard of the services provided for the industry. When the Scientific Research Levy was instituted in 1950, it was expected to produce between £100,000 and £120,000 a year. The average annual yield since the last increase in the rates has been £184,000. It is expected that the amended rates now proposed would produce a total of some £245,000 a year. The increased yield would be achieved by a straightforward increase of one-third in each of the levy rates; the proposed Order does not alter the incidence of the levy on the different classes of levy payers. The cost of the work financed from the levy by the Wool Textile Research Council has risen substantially as new inquiries have been undertaken for the improvement of the already high efficiency and high standards of the industry. In particular, the industry's research association, which receives most of the levy and which is also supported by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, has recently opened a new wing at its research station at Torridon. Research is, of course, particularly important to the industry at the present time when there is such rapid technical developments in the textile field and increasingly competitive conditions in international trade.

The 1947 Act requires the Board of Trade, before making such an Order as this, to consult any organisation representing substantial numbers of persons carrying on business in, or employed in, the industry. This they have done. There have been a few objections to this Order but they represent only a very small proportion of the total amount collected. The objections have been carefully examined, but do not appear serious enough to offset the large measure of support—I would almost say demand—from the rest of the industry. The industry in general clearly values the work done and paid for by the levy, and wishes it to be continued at the level necessary to meet the industry's needs. This is demonstrated by the fact that the increased rates proposed in the draft Order have been specifically requested by the principal employers' organisation in the industry, and are warmly supported by the trade unions. I hope your Lordships will see fit to approve this Order, and I beg to move.

Moved, That the Wool Textile Industry (Scientific Research Levy) (Amendment) Order, 1962, be approved.—(Earl Waldegrave.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.


My Lords, on a point of order, may I ask the noble and learned Viscount whether there was time for one to have got up before the Question was put? I had deference to the Lord Chancellor's being on his feet. I had notified my noble friend earlier that I was intending to speak in support of his Motion.


My Lords, I am very sorry. I try to make a pause after I state what the Question is. The noble Lord did not rise, and I went on to put the Question. I am extremely sorry if we have been prevented from hearing the noble Lord, but I am bound to say that I had put the Question and he did not get up to speak.


My Lords, am I to take it from that ruling that I do not have the indulgence of the House to suuort this Order?