HC Deb 28 November 1944 vol 404 cc2376-7
19. Major Lloyd

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether any steps are being taken to commence the resuscitation of the carpet industry in Scotland; and whether he will make a statement on the subject.

Mr. Dalton

Yes, Sir. Raw materials are now being allocated to manufacturers of carpets, including firms in Scotland, in proportion to their pre-war output. But supplies of materials are very short, and a number of the manufacturers are still heavily engaged on war contracts.

Major Lloyd

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is considerable anxiety about this question in Scotland? Everybody is building houses, or planning to build houses, but not enough preparations are being made for putting carpets on the floors.

Mr. Dalton

It so happens that I was in Scotland last week-end and met some of the carpet manufacturers, and so I am fairly up to date.

Sir Joseph Lamb

Did they have the right hon. Gentleman on the carpet?

Mr. Dalton

Only for social purposes. We both stood on the carpet. Carpet manufacturers understand very clearly that the supply of jute has been short and that it is urgently needed for war purposes. Substitutes are not readily come by to satisfy the carpet manufacturers or the public, but we are now having a gradual increase in production and the materials are being fairly distributed among all the firms, including those in Scotland.

Sir John Wardlaw-Milne

Is the right hon. Gentleman not in a position to tell the House anything more about the jute supplies which are likely to be available? They are in very short supply.

Mr. Dalton

They are over and above what we expected, but I must not lead carpet manufacturers to think they can be assured of a supply for the future, even on present levels. We are doing our best for them.