HC Deb 12 December 1945 vol 417 cc417-8
73. Mr. Murray

asked the President of the Board of Trade how many extra coupons overseas delegates, now in Lon don on the Preparatory Commission, are receiving; and how many have been given to diplomats and their secretaries arriving in Britain in the last month.

Mr. Ellis Smith

No issue of coupons has been made to the delegates to the Preparatory Commission. As a matter of convenience, arrangements have been made for a small pool of coupons to be placed at the disposal of the Conference Department of the Foreign Office for the issue of a small number of coupons to those dele gates who are in special need of clothes during their visit. With regard to Diplomatic staffs, about 1,400 coupons were issued to Ambassadors and members of the Diplomatic Corps arriving in this country in November in accordance with the arrangement which was announced in re ply to the hon. Member for Melton (Mr. Nutting) on 14th November.

Mr. Murray

Is my hon. Friend aware that only two weeks ago I asked in a Question to his Department for an in crease in coupons for youth organisations, and I was informed that the country was in such a desperate position that nothing could be given? Would my hon. Friend explain why he is giving such an extra amount of coupons to these delegates?

Mr. Smith

We do not need reminding by anyone— [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] These delegates are coming from all parts of the world, and surely hon. Gentlemen ought to take a more generous view.

Mr. Oliver Stanley

Might I ask what the hon. Gentleman means by "a small number of coupons," because people here and abroad may have rather different ideas of what a small number of coupons" means? Secondly, I would like to ask the hon. Gentleman whether these delegates are not arriving here fully clothed?

Mr. Smith

One would hope they would arrive in the way in which the right hon. Gentleman has indicated.

Mr. Vernon Bartlett

Would the hon. Gentleman bear in mind this suggestion, that where coupons are, for one reason or another, given to these delegates, they should also be given a leaflet pointing out to them what is the ordinary ration of coupons for a British citizen?

Mr. Smith

A certain amount of information of that kind has been given.

Mr. Murray

Is it not time for this kind of thing to stop altogether?

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