HC Deb 26 February 1948 vol 447 cc349-50W
Mr. M. MacMillan

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether in view of the withdrawal of the assured wool supply for Harris tweed for the Outer Hebrides, he will consider granting permits to more mainland spinners to supply weavers in the Islands after serving their mainland customers, in order to enable the hundreds of unemployed or under-employed Island weavers to increase their production of exportable Harris tweeds.

Mr. H. Wilson

Under the arrangements for the sale of British wools by auction, which came into force last autumn, spinners for the Harris tweed trade may now purchase as much wool as they wish whereas before they were limited to specific allocations. The Hebridean spinners should be able to purchase all the wool they need to work to full capacity. Weavers in the Islands are receiving from these spinners more yarn than they had in 1939. They also receive yarn from mainland spinners up to more than 100 per cent, of prewar supplies, whereas yarn supplies to weavers on the mainland are still substantially below prewar and are insufficient to keep all their available weavers fully employed. Many established weavers on the mainland have looms standing idle for this reason, and I should, therefore, not be justified in permitting still more mainland spinning capacity to be devoted to the needs of Hebridean weavers at their expense.