HC Deb 02 June 1919 vol 116 cc1648-9
9 and 10. Mr. BARRAND

asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) why Sir Percy Daniels was seat to the United States to purchase leather for the production of civilian boots when there are large stocks in hand in this country available for this purpose; whether the purchases so made in the United States amount to several millions sterling; whether he is aware that the importation of this leather has demoralised the market in this country; (2) whether he is aware that, as a consequence of the Government's policy of purchasing quantities of leather in the United States when there is an ample supply in this country, some of the largest British leather manufacturers are unable to dispose of their products and have been compelled to reduce largely their output, thus adding to the unemployment already existing; and what action he proposes to to take in regard to the matter?

43. Captain BOWYER

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department whether the directorate of raw materials recently purchased large amounts of leather in America for shipment to Great Britain; whether he will state what steps were taken before effecting this purchase to obtain tenders from leather manufacturers in this country; whether he is aware that there are several million square feet of leather, similar to that about to be imported, unsold in the hands of the producers in this country; and whether, in view of the present urgency of finding employment in this country, he will in the future take steps to see that all home manufacturers are given the opportunity of fulfilling these contracts before the orders are sent to foreign firms?


I have been asked to reply to this question. Approximately thirty-nine and a half million feet of fine upper leathers have been purchased by Sir Percy Daniels in the United States and Canada at a cost of about £3,500,000. Before the purchase was made, inquiries revealed a serious shortage in this country, and the purchase had the entire approval of the Leather Council, which is fully representative of the whole leather trade.


Are we to understand from the words "demoralised the market in this country" that leather was getting too cheap?


I cannot give any 'explanation of the question. I am only responsible for the answer.