HC Deb 24 March 1942 vol 378 cc1793-5
24. Sir J. Mellor

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, having regard to the reduction in the number and value of clothing coupons, he will reconsider the position of Home Guards, whose civilian clothing suffers exceptional wear and tear from their training and duties?

Mr. Dalton

Any additional wear and tear of the civilian clothing of Home Guards, due to the performance of their duties, is not, in my opinion, sufficient to justify the issue to them of supplementary clothing coupons. Home Guards surrender no coupons for the uniform and footwear with which they are issued.

Sir J. Mellor

Are not Army boots very destructive to civilian socks?

25. Mr. Leslie

asked the President of the Board of Trade why coupon concessions have been refused to grocery and provision sales staffs, fruit and vegetable sales staffs and tea packers, where cleanliness is essential in the handling of food; and whether he will give further consideration to the matter, in view of the wear-and-tear of clothing necessary in the trades mentioned?

Mr. Dalton

I have given careful consideration to these claims, but in view of the urgent need for national economy in clothing materials I am not satisfied that the wear and tear on the clothing of these workers justifies the issue of additional coupons.

Mr. Leslie

Will the Minister take note of the fact that people engaged in the food trades have to face the public, and require to have clean white aprons, on which there is considerable wear and tear, and that those who are getting supplementary coupons are behind the scenes, out of the public gaze?

Mr. Dalton

As my hon. Friend knows, it is extremely difficult to draw the line, on the one side of which a special case can be made out for additional coupons and on the other side of which it cannot. I assure my hon. Friend and the House generally that I am doing my best to draw that line fairly and to give consideration in all such cases. The countervailing principle which I must have in mind, subject to equity, is that we must reduce the quantity of clothing material available for the civilian population.

Mr. Burke

Should people in the food trades not have sufficient to enable them to maintain throughout the week an appearance of cleanliness, for hygienic purposes?

Mr. Dalton

Yes, Sir, certainly.

30. Mr. Parker

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that there is considerable disquiet at the quantity of clothing being sold at Romford Market without coupons; and whether he will tighten up the market's organisation to prevent this abuse?

Mr. Dalton

Clothing has been sold at Romford Market without coupons. A close watch has been kept by my officers on this market, and whenever an offence is detected, proceedings are instituted. Fines in one case of £30, and in four others of £20, have been imposed: one offender was sentenced to a month's imprisonment. No doubt the magistrates will see fit to use their powers under the new Defence Regulation to inflict heavier penalties, if these offences continue. I have given instructions that the watch on this market shall be further intensified.

Mr. Sorensen

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that unemployed "tic-tac men" are engaged to keep watch and warn the stallholders?