HC Deb 07 December 1943 vol 395 cc749-50
2. Mr. Daggar

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether any steps can be taken to improve the position regarding the availability of leather for boot and shoe repairing purposes, both in the case of those whose employment it is to effect repairs and those who do their own?

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

Yes, Sir. I am glad to say that this quarter it has been possible to increase by over 20 per cent. the supplies of leather allocated to civilian footwear repairs. Part of this increase is going to the home repairer. In addition, extra supplies of composition rubber material have been made available to the footwear repair trade.

Mr. Kirkwood

Is my right hon. Friend making special provision for children's boots?

Mr. Dalton

Yes, Sir. That is always very close to my heart. I have already given orders, which may not be altogether popular with the grown-ups as their full effect operates, to switch leather from grown-ups to children so far as the technical capacity permits. With regard to repairs, I am also taking steps to see that children get a fair share.

Mr. Kirkwood

My right hon. Friend can rely on us in supporting him in looking after the children.

Mr. R. J. Taylor

Will my right hon. Friend ensure that the quality of children's boots and shoes is much higher than has been the case, because the coupons that have to be used now on a pair of shoes which are done in a day or two are scandalous?

Mr. Dalton

Yes, Sir. I have been doing my utmost in that regard. As my hon. Friend will perhaps remember, I recently paid a visit to some of the boot and shoe centres and endeavoured to get a higher standard adopted throughout the industry. I have also instituted a plan whereby as from 1st November every pair of shoes or boots has to bear a mark showing who made it. As a result of that, if we find that a particular firm is sending out a lot of shoddy stuff, there will be ways and means of dealing with the matter.