asked the Secretary of State for Industry (1) what assistance, either financial, technical or protective, his Department has given to the textile industry since 4th March 1974 ; and if he will make a statement ;(2) what assistance, either financial, technical or protective his Department has given to the textile industry since 4th March 1974 ; and if he will make a statement about the present state of the industry.
Since the Government took office the Department of Industry has continued to make available to the textile industry financial assistance under the Industry Act 1972. My Department has given technical assistance to the industry in the form of general grants for co-operative research to the textile research associations.With regard to protective assistance, the textile industry continues to enjoy tariff protection on a wide range of textile products. It has also been protected by the continuing quantitative restraints on woven cotton and polyester cotton textiles and clothing from most low cost sources with the exception of the Mediterranean Associates. Restrictions on the importation of cotton yarn from low-cost sources have been in operation for many years and will be continued throughout 1975 for most low-cost sources including India, Pakistan and Hong Kong. In addition, restrictions on imports of cotton yarn from Greece and Turkey were reintroduced on 25th December 1974. There is a wide range of restrictions on textiles and clothing, including spun acrylic yarn, imported from Japan and the Eastern area. The Government have recently announced their intention to join in the proposed Community restraints on imports of knitwear and woven fabrics and clothing of fibres other than cotton and polyester cotton from the main Asian suppliers. They have also reached agreement with our Communitypartners on a textile "burden sharing" policy under which their markets will be progressively opened to imports from our traditional suppliers whilst the UnitedKingdom share of total textile imports from these sources into the Community will be reduced in the years ahead.Following the aftermath of the Flixborough explosion in May 1974 measures were introduced to enable certain firms in the industry to obtain caprolactam, the raw material for Nylon 6, free of duty ; and to obtain Nylon 6 filament yarns at reduced rates of duty from third countries, and duty free from other member States.I and my colleagues are very aware of the present state of the textile industry which is being affected by a depressed level of demand. The Government are urgently considering the various proposals put forward by the industry which relate basically to the level of imports.Mr. George Rodgers asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he is satisfied that the procedure for collecting evidence of unfair trading as it applies to the textile industry is operating efficiently ; and if he will make a statement.