HC Deb 03 November 1947 vol 443 cc1330-1
39. Mr. Thomas Reid

asked the Minister of Food if more adequate supplies of washing soda can be allocated to the Swindon district where the water is very hard.

120. Mr. Parkin

asked the President of the Board, of Trade if he is aware of the difficulty of obtaining washing soda in the West of England, although soap substitute powders and water softeners made from it are freely obtainable at higher prices; if he will examine the cause of this shortage; and if in particular he will see that the management of the civic restaurant at Bedford Street, Stroud, who have been told that they must wait for many months, receive an immediate supply in the interests of public health.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade (Mr. Belcher)

The essential industrial demands for soda ash limit the quantity which can be spared for making washing soda, but it is being maintained at the level of 1946, and is not being diverted to other domestic detergents. Endeavours are made to even the supplies out over the country as a whole, and I understand that the civic restaurant at Stroud has now received supplies.

Mr. W. Fletcher

In view of the fact that washing soda is a product of this country—it has not to come from outside—can the Parliamentary Secretary give some other more likely explanation?

Mr. Belcher

It is not a question of the explanation being likely or unlikely. I have given the facts, not a likely or unlikely explanation. The soda ash industry is working to capacity at the present time, and its products are being distributed as effectively as is possible over the country as a whole.