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Flax Industry

Volume 416: debated on Thursday 12 April 1945

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he proposes to take any steps to prevent the loss to Scotland of the technique of flax growing and processing acquired during the war.

I have been in close consultation on this matter with the Ministers concerned and with the Scottish Council on Industry. The responsibility for flax production rests with my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade, who informs me that the production of flax is being concentrated in areas where it can be most economically produced. Unfortunately, costs of flax produced in Scotland have been higher than the average for Great Britain, and despite intensive efforts no tenant has been found willing to take over on lease any of the three Scottish factories.

Is it not regrettable that three flax-fibre producing factories in Scotland are to be closed down? Is not the Minister aware that there is no mystery about growing flax and that the vagaries of the weather are of no greater account in Scotland in regard to flax growing than they are in any other country?

I am afraid, whether it is because of the vagaries of the weather or not, flax production in Scotland has not been so successful as flax production in England.