HC Deb 01 May 1952 vol 499 c100W
46. Mr. Burke

asked the President of the Board of Trade if, in view of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's estimate that the Government textile orders to the limit of £25,000,000 may find work for not more than 30,000 wool and cotton operatives, and that the number of unemployed cotton operatives alone is estimated at 60,000, he will take steps to provide alternative employment by placing Government orders for goods other textiles in the distressed areas of Lancashire, and by directing industries into the affected areas.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

I am examining with my colleagues what scope there may be for steering Government contracts, particularly within the defence programme, for goods other than textiles to these areas.

As the hon. Member is aware the Government have no powers to direct industry to a particular location, but I have issued instructions that firms seeking new capacity should be asked to consider those districts which are highly dependent on textiles as well as other areas in need of new industry.