HC Deb 23 June 1942 vol 380 cc1784-6
2. Miss Rathbone

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that the work of bodies comprised in the National Association of Girls Training Corps is hampered by the refusal of any provision of additional coupons for purchasing uniforms, and also by the lack of any provision of free uniforms such as are granted to boys in the training units for the three Armed Services; and, in view of the importance of encouraging girls of all classes, and not only the well-to-do, to join these training units, will he, in consultation with the other relevant Government Departments, consider what can be done to improve the position in this respect?

The President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Dalton)

The uniforms of these organisations are for the most part suitable for everyday wear. I could not, therefore, justify coupon-free supply.

Miss Rathbone

Is my right hon. Friend aware that working-class clubs are finding it very difficult to provide their girls with even the smallest modicum of uniform, and will he consider whether something can be done?

Mr. Dalton

I am afraid the supply position is such that all the tendency will have to be in the direction of the restriction rather than of the extension of coupon-free supplies. I am afraid the hon. Lady will find that it is really impossible to proceed along the line she suggests, but I shall be glad if she will discuss the matter with me.

Sir Herbert Williams

Will there be any coupons with family allowances, and, if so, what use will they be?

Mr. Dalton

That is not a matter for me.

5. Mrs. Tate

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will take steps to make it possible for farm-workers to obtain clothing, particularly dungarees and boots, essential for their work, coupon-free, or, alternatively, to provide them with some additional clothing coupons?

Mr. Dalton

I shall give full consideration to any claims for extra clothing coupons for farm workers put to me by the Trades Union Congress on behalf of the trade unions concerned. Farm workers, in addition to receiving the ordinary civilian ration, can obtain oilskins and milking overalls coupon-free against certificates issued by the County War Agricultural Executive Committee. Further, arrangements have been made, as I have already informed the House, to distribute a limited number of reconditioned battle-dress suits, coupon-free, to agricultural workers.

Mrs. Tate

Will the President also give consideration to cases put forward by the National Farmers' Union?

Mr. Dalton

Certainly, Sir. We find it convenient to canalise these applications, but if they come from another channel, I will consider them.

6. Mr. Higgs

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that no precaution has been taken to prevent industrial supplementary clothing coupons being transferred from one person to another; that they are being used for the purchase of all types of clothing; and will he make arrangements whereby they can only be used for the purpose for which they were originally intended?

Mr. Dalton

There is no evidence that industrial supplementary clothing coupons are being improperly transferred on any considerable scale. These coupons are intended not only to enable workers to buy occupational clothing for themselves but also, in many cases, to compensate them for specially heavy wear and tear on their ordinary clothes.

Mr. Higgs

Is the Minister aware that coupons are being issued in a loose form and that I have come across cases where they are being traded? Is that the right manner of using these coupons?

Mr. Dalton

No, Sir, it is not the right manner, and I shall be grateful if my hon. Friend will give me particulars, which I will then follow up. What I said was that I have no evidence that this is happening on any considerable scale.

Mr. Higgs

Is not the right hon. Gentleman's reply inconsistent with the reply he gave to a previous Question?

Mr. Dalton

I said I was not aware that loose coupons were being improperly used on any considerable scale, but if my hon. Friend can produce evidence that they are, I shall be glad to look into it.

Mr. Thorne

If the coupons of a family are pooled, will that be breaking the law?

Mr. Dalton

No, Sir, it has always been made clear that within a family transfers are permissible.