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.
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?
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?
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.
|Operatives in employment in the textile industry (thousands) (mid-year)||934||671|
|Operatives in employment in the cotton and man-made fibre industry (thousands) (average number at work during year)||333||165|
|Woven cotton and man-made fibre cloth:|
|U.K. production (million linear yards)||2,961||1,574|
|U.K. imports (million square yards)||475||700|
|U.K. exports (million square yards)||1,083||303|