HC Deb 06 April 1948 vol 449 cc20-1
44. Mr. Swingler

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that leather stocks in the hands of boot and shoe manufacturers in some parts of the country have considerably improved; and if he will sympathetically consider new applications for licences to purchase leather.

Mr. Belcher

The allocations of leather made to shoe manufacturers at the beginning of each quarterly period are based on the total estimated supplies which will become available during the period, with a small allowance for contingencies. The issue of further licences during the period would therefore merely result in over-licensing.

Mr. Swingler

is my hon. Friend aware that some manufacturers have recently stated that they have embarrassingly large stocks of leather, and that this is very irritating to those who have been refused licences? Will he inquire into this position?

Mr. Belcher

I do not think it is possible to generalise. I think some manufacturers have fairly large supplies of leather, but it is by no means certain that we are going to be able to maintain our leather purchases at the present rate.

Sir T. Moore

Will the hon. Gentleman ensure that the leather so allocated is made into shoes that will fit?

Mr. Belcher

I should have thought that it was for the purchaser to decide whether the shoes fitted or not. We cannot manufacture shoes to fit every pair of feet in the country.

Mr. Odey

In view of the fact that the supply of leather for this country's needs is quite adequate, will the Minister consider the removal of control altogether?

Mr. Belcher

The supply of leather at the present time may be adequate, but, as I have said, that may not continue to be the case.