HC Deb 01 December 1942 vol 385 cc998-9
41. Mrs. Adamson

asked the President of the Board of Trade when and how the public will obtain utility furniture; and whether Purchase Tax will be payable?

43. Squadron-Leader Errington

asked the President of the Board of Trade the date it is proposed to cease the manufacture of furniture other than utility furniture; whether the designs of such furniture have been decided; and whether the finished utility furniture will be available by the date when other furniture ceases to be made?

Captain Waterhouse

Utility furniture is now in production and will be on sale as from 1st January next. In present circumstances, owing to the scarcity of materials for furniture-making, it will be available only for persons with special needs, such as newly married couples setting up house for the first time, expectant mothers, growing families and those whose furniture has been destroyed by enemy action. Such persons will be able to apply for buying permits, under arrangements which my right hon. Friend will announce towards the end of this month. As from 1st November last, no further production of furniture, other than utility, can be begun, except under special licence; but other furniture in process of manufacture at that date may be completed up to the end of the year. My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has agreed to submit for the approval of the House an Order exempting utility furniture from Purchase Tax.

Mr. Rhys Davics

The hon. and gallant Gentleman mentioned that this furniture would be made available to young married couples; what about old couples married for the first time?

Captain Waterhouse

I did not say young married couples but newly married couples.

Sir Percy Harris

Will the Board of Trade give special consideration to the small manufacturers in the production of this furniture for they are threatened with extinction? Will they get a fair share of the allotment to make this furniture?

Captain Waterhouse

We will give consideration to them, but the main considerations are location, labour supply, equipment and the general efficiency of the producers.

Mr. Watkins

Is there any way in which the House can compliment the designers of this furniture because their efforts have been very successful?

Captain Waterhouse

The designers, I am sure, will note with gratitude my hon. Friend's remark.

Mr. Wilson

What does the hon. and gallant Gentleman mean by "the end of this month"?

Captain Waterhouse

I suppose 31st December.