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China-Clay Industry

Volume 415: debated on Monday 12 November 1945

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asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that the china-clay industry has over £250,000 worth of orders for export trade to America which they are unable to execute owing to the direction of labour away from the industry; that the livelihoods of many Cornish people depend upon this industry; and how many officials of his Department have any knowledge of, or experience in, the china-clay trade.

We have taken special steps, with the help of the Ministry of Labour, to assist this industry. The labour force has been increased by 750 workers during the last 16 months and exports to the U.S.A. are now at the rate of 98,000 tons per annum, against 62,000 last year. For over three years my Department has had the most valuable advice of Professor W. R. Jones, of the Royal School of Mines, who is an expert on china-clay, and at one time managed china-clay works.

Is the Minister aware that the industry is still desperately short of labour, and having regard to his well-known concern about the export trade, can he take any further steps to see that £250,000 worth of orders are not thrown away?

Could not the Minister take much more energetic steps than he is taking in this matter?