HL Deb 21 June 1982 vol 431 c906WA
Baroness Hornsby-Smith

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Why figures for textile imports in 1981 are not yet available, particularly in view of the current negotiations on the Multi-Fibre Agreement where accurate records of what has transpired in previous years are essential to any realistic assessments of future quotas, the increasing number of countries involved and the serious contraction of the textile industry throughout the EEC.

The Secretary of State for Trade (Lord Cockfield)

Disruption of the normal provision of statistics resulted from last year's Civil Service strike and caused a considerable backlog in the amount of information awaiting processing. The Government decided to resume publication of figures of current trade as the first priority and to catch up with the backlog as fast as available resources permitted. Consideration was given to the special needs of the textile industry and other industries on whose behalf representations were made. Unfortunately picking out particular industries for special processing would have resulted in further delay both in processing the backlog and producing current figures. On imports, only the figures for July and August 1981 now remain outstanding and HM Customs and Excise hope to publish those by the end of July. Negotiation of new bilateral agreements under the Multi-Fibre Arrangement has not been significantly hampered by the lack of statistics.

House adjourned at ten minutes past ten o'clock.