HC Deb 23 March 1948 vol 448 cc2748-9
12. Mr. Lipson

asked the Minister of Pensions whether the position with regard to the supply of surgical boots has now improved to such an extent as to enable the supply to be extended to the civilian disabled.

Mr. Buchanan

Yes, Sir. I am glad to say that the special steps taken by my Department, in conjunction with the Board of Trade and the Ministry of Labour and National Service, have caused the production of surgical boots by our main contractors to be doubled, with the result that the arrears have been so reduced as to leave only three weeks' work on hand. The contractors require double the present number of orders to keep them in full production, and action is being taken to utilise their services to the full in the interests of both war and civilian disabled.

Mr. Lipson

Does that answer mean that in future there will be no need for men who require surgical boots to keep away from their employment for a period while their boots are being repaired?

Mr. Buchanan

I do not anticipate that will arise, although there may be cases, where a very special boot has to be made, when there may be a little delay. But we anticipate that in most cases it will be avoided.

Mr. Edward Evans

Is my right hon. Friend aware that, since the subsidy on leather has been removed, the cost of surgical boots has risen to such an extent that it is quite beyond the capacity of some people to pay for them?

Mr. Buchanan

There is another question on the Order Paper, the answer to which bears on that point.