HC Deb 10 June 1941 vol 372 cc9-10
11. Sir H. Williams

asked the President of the Board of Trade the date and time of the signing of the Clothes Rationing Order; also the date and time at which the fact was communicated to the Press; whether his attention has been drawn to the extent of purchases in anticipation of the Order; and whether he has any statement to make?

Mr. Lyttelton

The Order was signed in the afternoon of Thursday, 29th May, and came into operation on 1st June. Notice of the Order was sent to the Press on the morning of 31st May with an instruction in regard to the hour of publication, which was fixed for Sunday morning, 1st June. I had a confidential conference with the Editors of the principal newspapers in the afternoon of 30th May, as is the normal custom, and on this, as on other occasions, there is no evidence whatever of any breach of confidence. Every possible precaution was taken to avoid leakage of information and it has been generally acknowledged that the secret was well kept.

Sir H. Williams

Can my right hon. Friend state what official of the Board of Trade was responsible for communicating the statement published in the "News-Chronicle" on Monday week last to the effect that there had been a disclosure and that the matter was already being dealt with?

Mr. Lyttelton

I must have notice of that question. I did not notice that statement.

Sir H. Williams

Surely the right hon. Gentleman's Department read what the Press say with regard to their own enterprises? May I ask whether the right hon. Gentleman's attention was drawn to the article in the "Sunday Express"—

Mr. Speaker

We cannot have all these questions about statements appearing in newspapers.

13. Sir J. Mellor

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will explain the position as regards the replacement of rationed clothing of persons who suffer losses by fire, theft and laundry?

Mr. Lyttelton

Persons desiring to obtain extra coupons to replace essential clothing and footwear lost by fire, theft or laundry, should apply by post on a form (for the present C.R.S.C.I.) to the nearest Collector of Customs and Excise whose address and the form of Application may be obtained from the nearest Information Centre of the local authority. Applicants are required to furnish on the form particulars of the essential articles of clothing and footwear they still possess, which will be taken into account in considering claims to extra coupons.

Sir J. Mellor

Will my right hon. Friend say whether they will get coupons sufficient for 100 per cent, replacement?

Mr. Lyttelton

Not 100 per cent, replacement of what their previous stocks were, but coupons for essential clothing.

Mr. Glenville Hall

Will my right hon. Friend say how long this procedure will take? It appears that it may take months to get these replacements.

Mr. Lyttelton

Special steps are being taken, and applications will be dealt with by the local collectors within 48 hours. The total time taken will not be more than four days.

14. Mr. Doland

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will ex tend the period mentioned, namely, 14th June, for the supply of bespoke tailoring and bespoke boots and shoes, as, owing to shortage of labour and similar difficulties, it is impossible for traders to complete orders taken before 1st June within the period defined, and the bespoke traders arc thereby penalised compared with the ready-to-wear traders?

Mr. Lyttelton

Yes, Sir. The period has now been extended to 21st June.