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Cotton Industry

Volume 464: debated on Thursday 12 May 1949

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1.

asked the President of the Board of Trade how many concerns accepted the subsidy offer for the installation of new machinery; the sum of public money that will be paid, and the percentage of firms of the whole cotton industry who have accepted the payment.

Particulars of the extent to which the Cotton Spinning Industry is availing itself of the facilities provided by the Cotton Spinning (Re-equipment Subsidy) Act, 1948, were given in my answer to my hon. Friend the junior Member for Oldham (Mr. Hale) on 3rd May. I would also refer my hon. Friend to my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Stretford (Mr. Austin) on 22nd February concerning the charge on public funds. No actual payment of subsidy has yet been made.

2.

asked the President of the Board of Trade how far the cotton industry have carried out the re-equipment programme suggested by the Cotton Industry Working Party; if he is satisfied with the organisation of the cotton textile machinery industry, its output and the number employed; and is the industry meeting the needs of world and home orders.

For information of progress in the spinning section of the cotton industry, I would again refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the junior Member for Oldham (Mr. Hale) on 3rd May, and for particulars of re-equipment in the weaving section, I would refer to the answer I gave to a Question by my hon. Friend the senior Member for Oldham (Mr. Fairhurst) on 3rd May. As regards the cotton textile machinery industry, output and range has increased considerably over that obtaining before the war, and my right hon. Friend the Minister of Supply is taking all practicable steps with the industry towards maintaining the maximum progress in this important field.

3.

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will give the total amount of State money spent on subsidies, investigations, etc., in the cotton industry since 1920; what action has been taken since 1946; and what further action it is intended to take.

No payment from public funds has been made in the period mentioned for subsidies to the cotton industry. Expenditure, amounting to £16,185,000 was incurred on utility cotton cloth production from 1944 but this was to reduce the cost of cotton goods to the public. As regards investigations, the total amount expended within the responsibility of the Board of Trade was £359 in 1946–47 in connection with the Cotton Working Party. There have been a small number of other investigations, the responsibility of other Departments, but the cost of these also has, I understand, been very little. Among the major actions taken by the Government since 1946 are the passage of the Cotton Spinning (Re-equipment Subsidy) Act, 1948, and the establishment of the Cotton Industry Development Council in 1948. I cannot foreshadow the further action that may be taken.