HC Deb 29 January 1948 vol 446 cc1167-70
4. Sir T. Moore

asked the President of the Board of Trade what instructions he has issued to manufacturers regarding the sizes in which ladies' shoes are to be made in future; and whether these will include a reasonable proportion of the larger sizes from 6 upwards.

Mr. H. Wilson

No instructions are issued to shoe manufacturers as to the range of sizes which they must produce, though arrangements are made to see that makers of larger sizes receive an adequate return both in selling price and raw materials. The proper proportion of all sizes, including the smaller and larger ones, is a matter for each manufacturer to decide in the light of the orders he receives. I am, however, aware that some women who need larger shoes find considerable difficulty in getting them, and I have spoken to the shoe manufacturing and distributing organizations who are meeting shortly to see whether they can devise a means of dealing with this difficulty.

Sir T. Moore

When the right hon. Gentleman meets the manufacturers will he bear in mind that the shops today are simply stacked with these small, dainty, Cinderella-like shoes? [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Yes, they are Cinderellas in that they are always left behind. Will the right hon. Gentleman remember that there must be something to buy for the large, queue-tortured feet?

31. Wing-Commander Hulbert

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether a boot and shoe repairer is required by regulation to use his leather allocation solely to meet the requirements of the district in which his works are situated, or whether he may use any raw material available to execute work from adjacent areas.

Mr. H. Wilson

No, Sir; there are no restrictions on the area from which any licensed shoe repairer may draw custom.

Wing-Commander Hulbert

Will the right hon. Gentleman make his reply [...]idely known?

Lieut.-Commander Gurney Braithwaite

Has there not been an extra allocation of leather in Westminster to inspire the slogan, "Boot out Bevan," which appears on the Embankment?

32. Mr. Symonds

asked the President of the Board of Trade what he estimates would now be, on the average, the amounts apportionable to leather and other materials, to labour, to overheads, and to profit, respectively, out of a charge of 10s. 6d. for soling and heeling a pair of shoes.

Mr. H. Wilson

Until we have had a general investigation of costs and profits, we cannot analyse repair charges in the way suggested by my hon. Friend. As my hon. Friends the Members for East Nottingham (Mr. Harrison) and Spen Valley (Mr. Sharp) were informed on Tuesday last, such an investigation is now being undertaken by the Central Price Regulation Committee.

Mr. Symonds

As there is such a great difference between the Department's figures and those given by the boot repairers, will the right hon. Gentleman see that the Committee report as soon as possible?

Mr. Wilson

Yes, Sir. We promise a speedy report in this matter. The price was increased to take account of the increase in leather costs, and we took as our basis the figures supplied by the trade association.

Mr. Sutcliffe

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the boot and shoe repairers have been faced with a loss of from 9d. to 1s. 3d. on every pair soled and heeled?

Mr. Wilson

They are claiming that, an I we have promised them an investigate[...] next month.

Mr. Sharp

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the price of leather has risen 60 to 70 per cent., and the basis for the figures was a 50 per cent. increase in the price of leather?

Mr. Attewell

Will the right hon. Gentleman say what is the cost of a pair of heels and soles, and whether it would reach 2s.?

Mr. Wilson

Not without notice.

33. Mr. Symonds

asked the President of the Board of Trade why there is an acute shortage of good quality shoes for children at a time when supplies for adults are plentiful; and, if he will ensure that more leather is allocated for the making of children's shoes by reducing, if necessary, the quantity allocated for the making of shoes for adults.

Mr. H. Wilson

Leather has for a long time been allocated on a basis which ensures a much higher children's shoe production than before the war. Production of children's shoes is now running at 130 per cent. against about 80 per cent. for adults' ordinary shoes. Seventy-five per cent. of the children's shoe production is utility, which is, on the average, rather better than the standard of pre-war shoes. But I agree that the healthy demand for the highest grades has grown so fast as to outstrip production of them. The limitation here is one of capacity, and not of leather allocations.

Mr. Symonds

As there are not enough coupons to enable frequent replacements of shoes, will my right hon. Friend increase the quota for the better kinds?