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Wool Textile Industry

Volume 958: debated on Tuesday 14 November 1978

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will set up a working party which will be comprised of wool textile industrial firms and local authorities in Yorkshire, where the wool textile trade is an important factor, to inquire into the increased costs arising from the effluent charges proposed by the EEC.

No scheme of trade effluent charges has been proposed in the EEC. The system now operated by water authorities in England and Wales is based on the provisions of the 1973 Water Act.In March 1977, I joined with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Industry in setting up a working party to consider the effect of charges on the Yorkshire wool industry. We have now received and responded to its report. I have no intention of establishing a new working party.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what estimate he has made of the cost to the wool trade in West Yorkshire under the proposed new effluent charges compared with previous years; and by how much this is likely to increase the cost of production and put the industry at a competitive disadvantage.

The levels of trade effluent charges levied on industrial discharges is in England and Wales a matter for the water authorities. The recent joint working party report on charges in Yorkshire estimated that the textile industry contributed 37 per cent. of the revenue derived by the Yorkshire water authority from trade effluent charges. In 1976–77 the total of such revenue was £2·9 million; in 1977–78, £5 million; in 1978–79, it is estimated to be £6·5 million. An assessment of the effect of these charges on the industry's competitive position is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Industry.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has made to the EEC concerning the effluent charges which will be imposed on the wool textile industry.