HC Deb 27 May 1946 vol 423 cc807-8
20. Colonel Wheatley

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will reconsider the whole question of dockets and units, in view of the impossibility of newly-married ex-Servicemen being able to make a home with the numbers now allowed.

Mr. Belcher

In spite of a considerable expansion in the production of furniture, floor coverings, bedding and curtain materials, we are not yet able to increase the number of dockets and units for these goods issued to new applicants owing to the continued heavy demand. We have, however, recently validated some of the deferred furniture units outstanding and we shall continue to do so as supplies improve.

Colonel Wheatley

Does the Minister realise that these men feel intensely about this matter, especially when they see shops full of all sorts of furniture made for people who have far more money to spend than ex-Servicemen? Cannot that material be put into a common pool?

Mr. Belcher

That, of course, is not the case. I will be perfectly frank with the House. I am not satisfied with the amount of furniture, floor coverings, etc., that we are able to make available to ex-Servicemen and other people setting up home for the first time. The key to the whole matter is production. The simple truth is that we are not producing sufficient furniture and floor coverings at the moment to meet this pent-up demand. We are doing all we can to expand production, but there must necessarily be a period in which, this shortage will be felt, and I regret it more than anybody.

33. Mr. Murray

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that the Tudhoe Co-operative Society are having great difficulty in supplying orders of utility furniture; that this society placed orders for flock mattresses in November, 1945, which have not been delivered; and if he will take steps to speed up delivery of these important articles.

Mr. Belcher

In April last I looked into the difficulties which this society were having in getting supplies of utility furniture, and, as I informed my hon. Friend in a letter, dated 29th April, all but 13 of the items to which this society's complaint referred had then been delivered. If, however, the society have any further difficulties, I should be glad to have details, including the names of the suppliers.

Mr. Murray

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that there are members of this society who have had bedsteads since November but have no flock mattresses to put upon them; and will he try to expedite the delivery of these particular flock mattresses?

Mr. Belcher

Yes, Sir.