HC Deb 28 June 1920 vol 131 cc67-8W

Captain ELLIOT asked the President of the Board of Trade whether the flax-spinners of Great Britain and Ireland have on hand a large stock of Italian hemp, acquired during the War and after as a flax substitute; whether they refuse to buy Russian flax recently imported in large quantity; and will he permit this flax to be sold by public auction to the highest bidder, irrespective of nationality, and grant export permits, if need be, so that linen and yarns may be manufactured here and on the Continent at reasonable prices and the needs of the population supplied?

Sir R. HORNE: The total amount of Italian hemp held by flax-spinners in Great Britain and Ireland on 31st May was 17,048 tons. I have no information to the effect that flax-spinners have refused to buy Russian flax. No permission is required for the sale of such flax by public auction, and no objection will be raised to the issue of licences for the re-export of such quantities of imported flax as can be shown to have been purchased on foreign account at any public auction.