Textile Council (Dissolution)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 14th December 1971.

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Photo of Hon. Nicholas Ridley Hon. Nicholas Ridley , Cirencester and Tewkesbury 12:00 am, 14th December 1971

This is not the occasion to debate employment in Lancashire. I wish to confine myself to the textile industry and the Textile Council. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman can raise these matters another time.

There is a dilemma between the speech of the hon. Member for Oldham, East (Mr. Lamond) and that of his hon. Friend the Member for Portsmouth. West (Mr. Judd). The latter was saying that the decline should continue because this commodity could be produced by under-developed countries. He pleaded for greater penetration from overseas, which would have resulted in more short-time working or more unemployment in the textile areas. More openings for trade can be carried to a certain point and then no further, and our record as an importer of textiles from the underdeveloped countries is better than that of any other industrialised country. I therefore believe that what the Government must do, faced with these two dilemmas, is to try to get the balance right. That is why my right hon. Friend felt inclined to continue the quotas after the end of this year.