61. Air Commodore Harvey
asked the President of the Board of Trade what he intends doing to assist silk and rayon industries in this country which are at the present going through a difficult time, in the same way as the cotton and wool industries.11W
§ Mr. H. Strauss
I am well aware of the present difficulties of the silk and rayon industries. The placing of additional defence contracts to a total of £20-£25 million, on which urgent action is now proceeding, is designed to bring direct and speedy assistance to those textile areas which are most severely affected by the current recession and by the lack of available opportunities for alternative employment. It is not intended to confine these contracts to the cotton and wool industries, but all orders placed must be for such textile goods as are needed to meet our defence requirements.
§ 70. Mr. Anthony Greenwood
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer over what period he proposes that Government contracts to the value of £25 million shall be placed with textile firms.
§ Mr. R. A. Butler
A good start has already been made with the issue of invitations to tender and it is expected that the contract operation for the additional orders of £20 million-£25 million will be completed in about two months.
§ 71. Mr. Anthony Greenwood
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the value of uncompleted contracts between Government Departments and textile firms at 7th April; and whether such sum was included in the £25 million of defence contracts to be placed by the Government as a palliative of the present recession in the textile industry.
§ Mr. R. A. Butler
The answer to the first part of the Question is approximately £61 million; and to the second part, No.
§ 79. Mr. Anthony Greenwood
asked the Minister of Supply what procedure should be adopted by local authorities or textile firms wishing to derive advantage from the placing of defence contracts.