asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that modern efficient cotton-spinning mills are being closed down in Lancashire, while old inefficient mills arc being opened up; and what steps he proposes to take to prevent the closing of efficient mills?
I am not aware that the situation is such as the hon. Member suggests. My information is that where mills are being closed down, it is in general because they cannot be profitably run, and that where they are being restarted, production is expected to be on a profitable basis.
Is it not a fact that the right hon. Gentleman had his attention specifically drawn to these cases when he was in Lancashire recently?
I am afraid that my attention was called to a great many matters in Lancashire, and on that matter, as the hon. Member is well aware, there is acute difference of opinion within the industry itself.
Is it not a fact that there can be no difference of opinion as to when a mill was built and whether it is efficient or not efficient?
The real test, of course, is Whether in existing conditions it can be run on a remunerative basis, and that, I am afraid, is really the test that must be applied.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if his attention has been called to the assistance which would be given to the Lancashire cotton industry if the British public used wax instead of wood matches; and if he will take steps to remit the tax on British-made wax matches with this object in view?
The answer to both parts of the question is in the negative.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if His Majesty's Government have any financial responsibility, immediate or remote, in any moneys loaned by the Bank of England to the Lancashire Cotton Corporation?
The Government have no financial responsibility in this matter.
Can the right hon. Gentleman say what is the precise relation between the British Government and the Securities Management Trust which is financing this Corporation?
I am afraid that it would be very difficult indeed to say what the relations are. There is no liability on the part of the Government.