§ 73. Mr. A. Edward Davies
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware of the extreme difficulty which is being experienced in obtaining surgical boots, or footwear according to special requirements; and what special action he is prepared to take inasmuch as some disabled people have been without these articles for several years.
§ Mr. Belcher
Yes, Sir; I am very much aware of the difficulties in obtaining surgical boots. The chief causes of the delay are the lack of skilled craftsmen and the world-wide scarcity of the most suitable types of leather. Special assistance has always been given to surgical bootmakers whose work is held up by lack of materials and we are now introducing a further scheme to enable types of leather normally reserved for export to be bought for surgical boots. The Ministry of Labour are operating training schemes and should help to provide some of the skilled manpower which is needed, and there has been some success in finding European volunteer workers for surgical bootmaking.
§ Mr. Davies
Is my hon. Friend aware that regard must be had to the question of price also, and that the price is prohibitive. As has been stated already, a sum of 16 guineas for a pair of boots makes the possibility of a poor person getting them pretty remote.
§ Mr. Belcher
Yes. Following my hon. Friend's representations, I have instituted an inquiry into the price.