Textile Industry

Oral Answers to Questions — Industry, Trade and Regional Development – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 23rd July 1964.

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Photo of Mr Charles Mapp Mr Charles Mapp , Oldham East 12:00 am, 23rd July 1964

asked the Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Regional Development, if he will state separately for the years 1951 and 1963 the number of working operatives in the textile industry, the volume of production of cotton and man-made fibre cloth, the imports and exports of cotton and man-made fibre cloth, and the imports and exports of made-up cotton articles.

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

As the Answer includes a table of figures I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Photo of Mr Charles Mapp Mr Charles Mapp , Oldham East

Is the Secretary of State aware that despite the inherent and, to some extent, continuing weaknesses of the textile industry, these figures will doubtless reflect the intense havoc and personal distress in the industry during the 12 years of this Government? Will he now, in reply to the industry's protestations to him, consider a policy to enable the textile industry to be viable in the future; or have we to wait for some electoral strategy to retain Lancashire seats on behalf of the Government?

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman should look at the figures for which he has asked before drawing conclusions. There is a Question on the Order Paper later about my conversations with the Cotton Board last night which deals with this point.

Photo of Sir John Barlow Sir John Barlow , Middleton and Prestwich

Does my right hon. Friend realise that we are the only great industrial textile country which does not reasonably protect its own people? Does he realise, for example, that America allows only 5½ per cent. imports and Germany 7½ per cent., whereas about 35 per cent. of home consumption is allowed in this country?

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

I think that my hon. Friend realises that my object is to give a stable basis to the textile industry. At the same time, we must take full account of the interests of the Commonwealth and developing countries which are selling textiles to this country.

Following is the table:

19511963
Operatives in employment in the textile industry (thousands) (mid-year)934671
Operatives in employment in the cotton and man-made fibre industry (thousands) (average number at work during year)333165
Woven cotton and man-made fibre cloth:
U.K. production (million linear yards)2,9611,574
U.K. imports (million square yards)475700
U.K. exports (million square yards)1,083303

Comprehensive figures in volume terms for trade in cotton made-up goods are not available.