HC Deb 04 May 1925 vol 183 cc565-6

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he can give, with reference to the last three years, the number of additional bales imported of which the production is attributable to the British Cotton Growing Association; what is the total in each of those years of funds received by the association from public sources, respectively; and whether he is prepared to consider legislation for a refundable levy on the industry to accelerate the production of raw cotton within the Empire on a basis which would include the bleaching and dyeing sections in proportion to dividends earned on a three years' average?

Mr. A. M. SAMUEL (Secretary, Overseas Trade Department)

I have been asked to reply and, as the answer is a rather long one, my hen. Friend will perhaps agree to its being circulated in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the answer:

The imports of raw cotton into the United Kingdom consigned from all British Possessions except British India were, in bales of 400 lbs. each, in 1922, 84,800 bales; in 1923, 121,700 bales; and in 1924, 173,800 bales. In 1913 they were 58,000 bales. It is not possible to state precisely what proportion of this increase is to be attributed to the operations of the British Cotton Growing Association, but I have no doubt that much of it is due to the activities of that organisation which, by the provision of approved strains of seed, and of ginneries, and in other ways, has done a great deal to develop cotton-growing in various parts of the Empire. No financial assistance has been given to the association from Government funds since 1917. As regards the remainder of the question, my hon. Friend is no doubt aware of the provisions of the Cotton Industry Act, 1923, which imposes a levy on all cotton consumed in the United Kingdom for the purposes of the Empire Cotton Growing Corporation, which is concerned primarily with the technical as distinguished from the commercial aspects of Empire cotton growing.