HC Deb 18 March 1940 vol 358 cc1638-9
55. Miss Wilkinson

asked the Minister of Supply whether some definite lead can be given to the retail trade as to what economies are needed, and on what materials, in view of the fact that at the time when wool is needed for uniforms of all kinds, with corresponding demands on shipping, the whole emphasis of women's fashions is being placed on wool, and that Bond Street retailers are about to organise a special wool week to advertise fashionable wool frocks?

Mr. Burgin

The restriction of home demand is a question constantly under consideration, but it raises different issues in different trades. I have no reason to doubt that the makers and the retailers of woollen clothing are aware of the position of our wool supplies and will adjust their programmes accordingly.

Miss Wilkinson

Does the Minister at this date, after seven months of war, really think that it is possible to have any drastic cutting down of luxury spending, unless the Government give a clear lead in this direction and make it compulsory upon the whole trade?

Mr. Burgin

The hon. Lady will understand from the Debate in this House recently that my responsibility is with the raw wool and not with the use to which it is put after it has left the Controller's hands. The Controller of the raw wool satisfies the Service requirements; after that he satisfies export, and, if there is anything over, it is for the home trade. At the moment there is enough for about half of the requirements of the home trade, and I would have thought that that was giving a lead, and was a drastic cut in the luxury trade. If it is necessary to cut further and the circumstances say "Cut," I shall unhesitatingly do so.

Mr. Levy

In spite of the fact that my right hon. Friend is satisfied that the Controller satisfies various classes, is he sure he is satisfying anybody, having regard to the maladministration of the wool control?

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