HC Deb 15 December 1955 vol 547 cc214-5W
59. Mr. Owen

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that more than 50 cotton mills have closed during this year, and more than 20,000 workers have been on short-time, and that a weekly average of 540 have left the industry; and if he can now make a statement of Government policy on the cotton industry.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

I am well aware of the problems of the cotton textile industry and am keeping in close touch with its representatives. I am glad to say that the situation has shown some improvement in recent weeks. The industry's problems are due to a number of causes, not least the harmful effects of the uncertainty about American cotton policy. We are continuing to emphasise these harmful effects to the United States Government. I am also examining with the industry on a regular basis what can be done to improve the export prospects for cotton textiles. These are both problems fundamental to the industry's present difficulties. There are signs that the abolition of the D Scheme in the Budget is assisting the production of high quality textiles.