HC Deb 26 October 1943 vol 393 c9
5. Mr. Quintin Hogg

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is prepared to release sufficient cloth to the Services to permit other ranks in suitable cases to purchase pyjamas or to grant coupons with the same object?

Mr. Dalton

The supply of cloth for civilian clothing is barely sufficient to meet the present civilian ration, and I regret that it would be quite impossible for me, out of the civilian allocation, either to authorise the issue of coupons to other ranks for pyjamas or to spare cloth for an issue by the Services.

Mr. Hogg

Is it not the case that this distinction between officers and other ranks is a false social distinction in the Services? Would the Minister take up again with the Service Ministers the question as to whether the allocation of clothing given by him to the Services does not permit the issue of pyjamas on a limited scale to other ranks?

Mr. Dalton

I am anxious that the responsibility should be rightly adjusted in this matter. My responsibility is to the civil population. The allocation of materials to the Services is made, not by me, but by the Minister of Production, who has to hold the balance as evenly as he can between civilians on the one hand and the Services on the other. What the Services choose to make a Service issue is a matter for the Service Ministers. The decision is theirs as to what issues from the quartermaster's stores they will make. My concern is with the civilian population.

Mr. Levy

There is no scarcity of raw materials. The difficulty is in regard to the supply of labour to manufacture the raw material into finished products. Surely the Minister knows—

Mr. Speaker

The hon. Member is giving information, not asking for it.