HC Deb 13 April 1943 vol 388 cc1032-3
5. Major-General Sir Alfred Knox

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been drawn to the speech of the Director-General of Civil Clothing at Manchester on 15th February; and whether it is the intention of the Government to continue the issue of utility clothing or to the control of clothing in any form as a permanent part of our national life?

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

Yes, Sir. I read this interesting speech after it was delivered by the Director-General of Civilian Clothing at the opening of the Cotton and Rayon Utility Fabric Exhibition at Manchester on 15th February. No decision has yet been reached as to the future of the utility clothing scheme after the war; but on the general question of the continuance of controls in the post-war period, I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the statements made by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer and myself in the Debate on Economic Policy on 2nd and 3rd February last.

Sir A. Knox

Surely it is not right that the Director-General should, off his own bat, alarm people that such controls are to continue indefinitely?

Mr. Dalton

The Director-General, far from alarming people, asked manufacturers to consider whether, from their point of view, it was desirable that the utility cloth and clothing schemes should be continued, perhaps in a modified form, after the war. He did that with my complete approval. It is the policy of the Government to consult all the interests concerned as to their views before we reach decisions.

Sir Herbert Williams

Surely the primary interest is not that of the Board of Trade or traders but that of the people who buy the stuff?

Mr. Dalton

That is not forgotten at the Board of Trade.