Petitions (Cotton Textile Industry)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 29 January 1959.

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Photo of Mr Charles Hale Mr Charles Hale , Oldham West 12:00, 29 January 1959

I have two Petitions to present to the House, which, with the leave of the House, I will present contemporaneously.

The first is addressed to this honourable House by 6,000 of Her Majesty's loyal citizens in or about the Urban District of Chadderton, in the Parliamentary Division of Oldham, West, in the Royal Duchy of Lancaster, and it prays the High Court of Parliament to intervene to protect them from the follies of Her Majesty's principal personal servants who have been temporarily, and they think unwisely, appointed to take charge of affairs in (he Royal Duchy and throughout the Realm.

The Petition calls attention, with justifiable pride, to the long record of the Urban District of Chadderton in the textile industry and to its former prosperity. It urges that measures should be taken forthwith to revive and reinvigorate the industry. It calls attention to the increasing distress which is being caused in this once prosperous urban district, and it urges upon the High Court of Parliament the necessity for early and helpful action.

The life of the County Borough of Oldham has always hung by a thread, a thread spun of cotton as fine as gossamer, but capable of bearing almost any weight by its craftsmanship, except the weight of a long period of Tory Government.

I have to present a Petition on behalf of about 16,000 or 17,000 of the inhabitants of the County Borough of Oldham which has been bound in gold and black —gold for glories that are now past and black for the inspissated industrial gloom of today. The Petition also calls attention to the fact that the official unemployment figures do not reflect the true position on account of the manner in which those figures are ascertained and it is beyond question that the unemployment and short-time working are greater than is revealed by the official figures. The Petition calls attention to mounting unemployment in Oldham, which is now of the order of 10 per cent, among textile workers and 7 per cent, overall, and prays that your honourable House take action without delay to limit the import of cheap textiles, to devote itself to saving the cotton towns of Lancashire from becoming derelict by taking action to stimulate aid reinvigorate the textile industry. Both Petitions conclude with words that are traditional, but are more than traditional, because tonight many people in Oldham will be praying that our sons of 15 will not be left without employment and that our men of 50 will not be cast aside on to the industrial waste heap.

Those are the two Petitions which I beg this honourable House to receive.

To lie upon the Table.