§ Mr. Thornton
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will make a statement about Her Majesty's Government's policy on the future structure of the Lancashire Textile Industry, with particular reference to recent merger proposals.
§ Mr. Crosland
As I have told the House on a number of occasions, I have been awaiting the Report of the Textile Council's Study on Productivity and Efficiency before taking major decisions of policy about the industry. This report,168W which I expect to receive in the course of this month, will deal, among other subjects, with the structure of the industry. In the Government's view, this most important matter should not be left to be determined solely by take-over bids and market forces: it requires to be examined thoroughly and objectively in the light of the Textile Council's Report. Accordingly, as soon as I receive the Report, I propose to review its findings in close consultation with the industry and with the Textile Council, drawing upon such other advice as may be necessary. In particular I shall examine in what way the most satisfactory measures of further concentration and rationalisation can be brought about. So that this examination may be comprehensive in its scope, Courtaulds has agreed, at my request, to withdraw its current proposal to bid for English Calico; and I am grateful for its collaboration in this.