§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ 10.40 p.m.
I want to raise a very practical and rather important point on this Clause with regard to the purchase of materials and appliances by local authorities, who will be required, under these schemes, to buy numerous appliances and materials. How are they to obtain them, and is there to be any standard price fixed for these articles, and any guarantee of the standard of quality of the articles? I suggest to the hon. Gentleman that the Secretary of State should lay down a standard of quality for the articles purchased by local authorities, and that there should also be a standard available for articles sold for the use of private individuals for making their gas-proof rooms. If you do not have a standard of quality and a standard of price, there will be a tremendous amount of profiteering in this kind of business, and bad quality articles will be used. I suggest that a practical way would be to set up a standard of quality of material for gas-proofing and say that the firms supplying articles of that quality shall have a national mark, and that those who do not rise to that quality shall not have the national mark. That would give an opportunity that would be useful and good both for local authorities and private individuals, and exercise a control over prices. This is a very important point, and it will mean a very large amount of money one way or another whether your prices are reasonable or exaggerated.
§ 10.42 p.m.
§ Mr. Lloyd
I think that the hon. Member will agree that the question of prices is another and very difficult side of the question, as is also the question of the standardisation of the quality of goods to be supplied to private individuals. On the question of the respirator, there is the machinery of the Home Office mark, the scheme of which is that if respirators reach a certain standard of quality, they are entitled to have the Home Office mark affixed to them, which will give the public a guarantee of quality. It is not easy to apply that procedure to all the materials under consideration, but I think that with regard to minor materials such as adhesive tape and cellophane and other things it will be possible to apply it.