HC Deb 09 May 1944 vol 399 cc1690-1
16. Mr. A. Edwards

asked the President of the Board of Trade on what grounds proof of need is demanded from persons applying for replacement of lost clothing coupons.

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

No proof of need is required when coupons are lost owing to circumstances entirely outside the loser's control, such as burglary, fire or bombing. But supplies are too short to permit replacement of coupons lost in other cases, unless the loser would otherwise suffer real hardship.

Mr. Edwards

I appreciate that one has to be careful with coupons, but they belong to the owner by right; is the Minister within his rights, therefore, in depriving people of essential commodities?

Mr. Dalton

Unfortunately, coupons which are lost are still in circulation in many cases, and to replace coupons lost or alleged to be lost would encourage claims for losses and create intolerable coupon inflation.

17. Dr. Russell Thomas

asked the President of the Board of Trade the date of expiration of the clothing coupons available before 1st February, 1944.

Mr. Dalton

I have no intention at present of fixing any date of expiration for any clothing coupons issued after the first rationing period, 1941–42.

Dr. Thomas

As the Minister says that he has no intention at present of fixing a date of expiration can we take it that the coupons will last indefinitely, because many people are saving them for a much needed new suit in future and it would be hard lines if they found their coupons were out of date?

Mr. Dalton

It is my desire that the public should postpone, as far as is reasonably possible, the use of their coupons, and, therefore, I have no incentive to cancel them.

Dr. Thomas

Will they be punished for postponing their use?

Mr. Dalton

No, Sir.