HC Deb 15 July 1941 vol 373 cc426-8
3. Mr. Hannah

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he has considered a petition from 107 women in Sedgley, asking to be allowed to obtain, coupon free, wool for service men; and can he do anything to meet their wishes?

5. Mrs. Adamson

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware of the many petitions now being signed by the women of Britain asking for the right to purchase knitting wool in service shades, coupon free, for knitting comforts for relatives and friends in the Forces; and if he can make a statement on the question?

7. Major-General Sir Alfred Knox

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will permit the issue without coupons of wool required for knitting service comforts?

8. Major Milner

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware of the feeling aroused by coupons being required for the purchase of knitting wool required for the services, with the implied suggestion that purchasers might use such wool for other purposes; and whether he is prepared to modify the order?

Sir A. Duncan

As I stated last week, khaki knitting wool can be bought without coupons until the 16th August. As it would be impossible to guard against abuse, and because the effect of abuse on any considerable scale would be serious, I regret that knitting wool in other Service colours cannot be made available free of coupon to private persons wishing to knit for their relatives or friends serving in the Forces. Arrangements are, however, being made to issue all knitting wools free of coupon to certain organisations to be approved for the purpose. These organisations will distribute the wool to knitting parties and receive the knitted goods for distribution amongst the services. A full announcement will be made as soon as details have been worked out with the Service Departments.

Mr. Thorne

Do I understand from that Reply that it will be impossible for a private individual to obtain wool for knitting purposes?

Sir A. Duncan

No, Sir; wool can be obtained for coupons.

Sir Granville Gibson

Is it desired that these organisations that are to be issued free wool should refrain from making application until the details are made public?

Sir A. Duncan

It will be much more convenient if they will allow some days to elapse until these arrangements are completed.

Mrs. Adamson

Will the President of the Board of Trade see that the list of organisations is a comprehensive one and that they understand that they must check up after the distribution of wool has been made?

Sir A. Duncan

Yes, Sir; as hon. Members will realise, these are matters in which the Service Departments are very closely interested. We want to see that the Services receive as wide a distribution as possible, and it will be possible for knitting parties to affiliate themselves to organisations, and these organisations will be responsible for seeing that the goods are properly distributed.

Sir A. Knox

Will it any longer be possible for small shops to deal in this wool?

Sir A. Duncan

Yes, Sir, and I hope that they will be part of the arrangement.

Sir A. Knox

Without coupons?

Sir A. Duncan

In so far as it is coupon-free wool.

6. Mr. Critchley

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether it has been brought to his notice that considerable discrimination is being shown between workers in factories who have to obtain their working clothes, that boiler suits and bib and brace overalls as productive clothing are free of coupons, whilst workers in other essential industries such as railways, passenger transport services and various other public utility services, who must wear uniformed clothing as a necessary part of their working equipment, are compelled to surrender their coupons for this equipment; and what steps does he propose to take to alter this anomaly?

Sir A. Duncan

As stated on 24th June, discussions are proceeding with the T.U.C. about provision under the Clothes Rationing Scheme for special occupational needs. It has already been found possible to exempt certain types of garments which are readily definable and which constitute a net addition to the wearer's essential requirements, but I cannot admit that these conditions are necessarily fulfilled by the types of garments mentioned by my hon. Friend.