HC Deb 08 February 1944 vol 396 cc1625-6
60. Mr. R.J. Taylor

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he proposes to take any action regarding the high prices of women's hats.

61. Mrs. Adamson

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware of the exorbitant charges for ladies millinery; and if he will exercise control over this exploitation.

Mr. Dalton

I have given anxious thought to this difficult problem. But there is infinite variety in women's hats and I am very doubtful whether a utility model, even at a fixed price, would be welcomed.

Mr. Taylor

While appreciating the labour difficulties, may I ask whether my right hon. Friend has taken any steps to check what is believed to be flagrant profiteering in this regard?

Mrs. Adamson

Will my right hon. Friend approach the manufacturers with a request to put on the market a miscellaneous assortment of ladies' hats which would depend for their shape and style on simplicity; and would he control the prices of these?

Mr. Dalton

It is impossible, administratively, to control the price of anything which cannot be clearly defined.

Sir William Davison

Will my right hon. Friend also consider taking action to modify the amazing and unbecoming shapes of many hats now being worn by women involving an unnecessary waste of material?

Mr. Dalton

I am very much surprised at the hon. Member proposing additional bureaucratic interference.

Commander Sir Archibald Southby

Does the right hon. Gentleman think there exists any power on earth which could prevent women paying money for hats?

Mr. Taylor

May I ask my right hon. Friend to consider this matter? It is a serious position for soldiers' wives because the prices of children's hats are far in excess of anything they can pay.