asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is now able to make a statement regarding the work of the two committees set up in May last in connection with the supply of utility type cotton and rayon cloth.
I have received certain interim recommendations from both the Cotton and the Rayon Utility Scheme Committees dealing with the first part of their terms of reference, namely, the steps necessary to secure an early increased supply of utility-type cloth.The Cotton Committee have recommended that the converters' maximum prices in force in July last should be raised by 6 per cent. in order to make them reasonably remunerative to the converters, and that there should be a system of regular adjustments of these prices to take account of changes in the cost of raw materials. These measures would supersede the interim price increase of 5 per cent. on utility cotton cloths which I made on the Committee's recommendation in August. I have decided to accept these recommendations and the necessary Orders, which will take account of increases in the cost of raw materials up to the end of October, will be made as soon as possible.The Cotton Committee have also recommended that for cotton cloths which have a considerable element of fashion, such as dress cloths, a number of broader specifications should be introduced to allow greater variety in construction and to permit a wider range of cloths to be brought into the utility scheme.The Rayon Committee have made a similar recommendation for permitting broader specifications for continuous filament rayon cloths. They have not yet submitted any recommendation about spun rayon cloths.In making these recommendations for broader specifications, both of these Committees have pointed out that the introduction of such specifications will be of great help to the export trade where it is essential to offer a certain novelty of construction or finish.The Government has accepted in principle both Committee's recommendations for broader specifications, but in accordance with the express recommendation of each Committee, I am arranging for the proposed new specifications to be discussed with the organisations concerned in the wholesale trade and the making-up industry.I should like to take this opportunity of thanking my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary and all the members of his Committees for the valuable work they have already done. They have expressed the view that the adoption of these interim recommendations will result in the proportion of utility production being raised well above present levels; and they will now turn their attention to the second part of their terms of reference dealing with the changes which may be desirable if the utility schemes are to play their full part in the national economy in the years to come.