HC Deb 02 December 1947 vol 445 cc200-1
65. Mr. Hollis

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that in the County of Somerset it is impossible for women, with exceptionally large feet, to get any boots; and what steps he is taking to improve supplies.

Mr. Belcher

I know that the larger sizes of women's footwear are not easy to get; but I was not aware that the position was particularly difficult in Somerset. If the hon. Member will give further particulars, I will look into the matter.

Mr. Hollis

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the position is particularly difficult everywhere, but the particular difficulty in Somerset, if he wishes to know, is that representations have been made by the Women's Institutes in that county? Is it the hon. Gentleman's policy to cut the boots to fit the feet, or to cut the feet to fit the boots?

Mr. Belcher

I do not do any cutting at all. That is left primarily to the manufacturers of these articles. If there is any difficulty about any particular size and the hon. Gentleman will get in touch with me about it, I shall do what I can.

Mr. Bartlett

Will the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that there is no such complaint in the Bridgwater Division of Somerset?

Mr. Belcher

I am glad to hear that feet are smaller in the Bridgwater Division. The point is, however, that manufacturers tend to concentrate on the easily saleable lines, and it is very difficult to persuade manufacturers to make these outsizes.

Lieut.-Colonel Sir Thomas Moore

The hon. Gentleman is wrong. Is he not aware that, owing to the number of hours spent in queues, large feet are now wide-spread?