HC Deb 20 May 1942 vol 380 cc219-20
25. Mr. Wakefield

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware of the scarcity of crockery in certain districts; and what steps he is proposing to take for priority issue to those housewives who have increased needs due to war workers and evacuee children being billeted upon them?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade (Captain Waterhouse)

I am aware of the scarcity of crockery; exports have been reduced since 1st May, and other steps are being taken to increase supplies. A survey is being undertaken to ascertain the areas in which the shortage is relatively greatest, and supplies will be specially directed to those areas.

27. Mr. Wakefield

asked the President of the Board of Trade in view of the scarcity of crockery throughout the country for domestic use, what steps he is taking to overcome this scarcity by increased use of plastic or other appropriate raw materials in substitution therefor?

Captain Waterhouse

The possibility of increasing the production of plastic tableware is being examined in consultation with the Ministry of Supply and the industry. Manufacturers of articles of plastic material are heavily engaged, however, on important Government work, and they can make only a relatively small contribution to our total requirements of crockery.

30. Major Lyons

asked the President of the Board of Trade what benefit has accrued in relation to the availability of undecorated low-priced crockery consequent upon recent provisions; whether he is aware of the great shortage still existing for essential purposes; what other steps he proposes to take to ensure more manufacture of these articles and their ready supply at proper prices?

Captain Waterhouse

I am aware that there is still a shortage of domestic pottery, in spite of the fact that since 1st December there has been no limitation on the supply of these goods for the home market. My right hon. Friend has accordingly restricted the exports of pottery to 80 per cent. of the 1941 level for the three months May-July and has warned the industry to expect a further reduction from August to 60 per cent. or less, with the object of releasing productive capacity for essential home supplies. An order controlling prices has been drafted and will be signed very soon.

Major Lyons

Will the Department keep in touch with the trade concerned, in the hope of doing something else should the new provisions not be sufficient for this purpose?

Captain Waterhouse

Yes, Sir, we will certainly keep in touch.

Mr. Montague

Will the Order controlling prices have anything to do with reducing prices? Is the Minister aware that poor people have now to pay several shillings for a cup such as cost only a few pence before the war?

Captain Waterhouse

Yes, I can assure my hon. Friend that cases of that sort will be dealt with, and a reduction will be brought about.

Sir Joseph Lamb

Will the control of prices also affect glassware?

Captain Waterhouse

I should like notice of that Question.