HC Deb 25 February 1971 vol 812 cc236-7W
Mr. Normanton

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what is the outcome of the review of the Textile Council which his Department has been carrying out in accordance with the provisions of Section 8(3) of the Industrial Organisation and Development Act, 1947.

Sir J. Eden

I have consulted the Council and representative bodies in the textile industry. There is a widely held view that the Council no longer suits the present needs of the industry or those which are likely to emerge in the future and that its policy-making and representational functions could better be carried out by voluntary arrangements within the industry. The Council itself shares this view and has recommended its own dissolution after adequate arrangements have been made for continuation of those of its present activities which it is in the industry's interest to retain.

Since the Government's policy is to encourage industry to provide for its own representational and common services to the fullest possible extent, we have decided to accept this recommendation and we propose to lay a draft Order before the House in due course to dissolve the Council by 31st March, 1972. Discussions are in progress in the Council and with the industry over the future of the Council's operational activities and the organisations which it has sponsored or helped to fund.

In announcing this decision, I wish to pay tribute to the important role which the Textile Council, and its predecessor the Cotton Board, has played in the affairs of the textile industry since 1948.

I welcome the plans which are under discussion among associations representing both employers and employed within the industry as a whole to establish a British Textiles Confederation. It will be the intention of the Department to co-operate fully with this voluntary body once it has been established.