HC Deb 21 February 1940 vol 357 cc1349-50
56. Mr. Jackson

asked the Minister of Supply whether he is aware that grave dissatisfaction is felt by Welsh sheep farmers over the low price they are being offered for their wool; and whether he will explain why the prices offered for this wool are so much less than those from other districts?

Mr. Burgin

The prices fixed varied, of course, not according to district but in accordance with the type of wool, and the same proportionate advance was given for all types upon the prices prevailing before the war, save in the case of one variety, largely required for export, for which it was considered that a higher price was justified.

57. Sir A. Knox

asked the Minister of Supply whether he is aware that the output of knitted comforts for His Majesty's Forces would be doubled if more wool were made available for voluntary knitters; and if he will accordingly take steps in co-operation with the wool controller and spinners to increase the supply of knitting yarn?

Mr. Burgin

As my hon. and gallant Friend is no doubt aware, special steps have been taken to make wool available to spinners for producing knitting yarns to be used in making comforts for the Forces, and it is estimated that two-thirds or more of the total output of hand knitting yarns is being used for this purpose. The wool available should be sufficient to make a complete outfit of, say, cap comforter, pullover, mittens and socks for about 300,000 men every week. I do not think, therefore, that there can be said to be any insufficiency of wool for this purpose.

Sir A. Knox

Arising from that reply, will the Minister not allow that, on the one hand there is a demand by these organisations to get more wool, while on the other hand the Government are crying out all the time for more comforts for the troops? Is it not a fact that these comforts are very much appreciated by the men?

Mr. Burgin

Yes, Sir. These comforts are very much appreciated and I have no doubt that many are wanting them. They are made of wool for which there is only a certain amount of spinning capacity. Every week 340 tons of raw wool are being used to spin into this knitting yarn, and as soon as it is made it is taken off the counters because the demand is so great. Bearing in mind the question of distribution, I am pointing out that 300,000 men per week are being given a complete outfit of woollen garments.