asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will make a statement on the effects of the British textile industry of the level of import penetration of the United Kingdom market; and what measures he proposes to take to ensure the retention of viable British manufacturing capacity.
Import penetration of the United Kingdom market has had various effects, direct and indirect, short and long run, on the British textile industry: these include levels of output and employment lower than they might otherwise have been. Effects on other variables such as investment are more difficult to assess, since it can be argued that the pressure of imports may have speeded up some of the replacement and modernisation investment that has taken place. Generalisation about effects moreover makes insufficient allowance for the experience of different textile sectors.The Government attach importance to the retention of a viable and competitive manufacturing industry. They will continue to use their influence to ensure that the multi-fibre arrangement is implemented with full regard to the interests of both the United Kingdom's manufacturing industry and the United Kingdom consumer. It will also work with its Community partners for the achievement of satisfactory orderly marketing arrangements when the current MFA expires at the end of 1981. The Government attach great importance to the part which their economic policies will play in the fight against inflation and seek to enable efficient firms in the industry to maintain capacity and competitiveness in home and export markets.