§ The Under-Secretary of State for Industry (Mr. Gerald Kaufman)
No, Sir. To require clothing firms assisted under the scheme to use only British cloth would be an unreasonable interference in their commercial activities. The Government of course favour the use of British cloth wherever possible, but my right hon. Friend considered that it would not be appropriate to make this a condition of assistance.
§ Mr. Cryer
Does my hon. Friend agree that if £20 million of public money is to be paid out to the clothing industry, conditions should be attached to it? Does he accept that it has been Labour Party policy that in cases where taxpayers" money has been put into private industry, taxpayers should have some control over that money and that industry? Does he further accept that the textile industry is now so ailing that, apart from conditions being attached to the clothing industry, it is necessary for the Government to take notice of the last Labour Party conference and the call, yesterday, by the General Secretary of the Labour Party, and use selective import controls to give the issue the attention that is required? Will he give an assurance that the call by the Labour Party will be given serious attention?
§ Mr. Kaufman
If my hon. Friend will draw to my attention any reference in a Labour Party policy document to tying to State assistance conditions of the kind that he suggested in his supplementary question, I shall be glad to look at that point again. As to his reference to the 5 speech by Mr. Ron Hayward, the General Secretary of the Labour Party, Mr. Hayward is an exceptionally sagacious man, who continually makes sagacious speeches. I draw my hon. Friend's attention to a speech that Mr. Hayward made at the Labour Party Conference, in addition to the one he made yesterday.
§ Mr. Richard Wainwright
Does the Minister agree that the present foreign exchange value of the pound is in itself a strong incentive to clothing manufacturers to buy British-made cloth?
§ Mr. Kaufman
Yes, indeed. But, in addition, we ourselves are extremely anxious that manufacturers should buy British cloth. I sympathise with the essence of the Question put by my hon. Friend the Member for Keighley (Mr. Cryer). What we are not prepared to do is to attach a stringent condition.