HC Deb 07 December 1950 vol 482 cc504-6
5. Mr. John Rodgers

asked the President of the Board of Trade to what extent the quality of utility cloth 207 differs from the quality two years ago.

Mr. H. Wilson

The maximum price for cloth to which the specification No. 207 may be applied has not been raised during the past two years, despite considerable increases in the price of raw wool and in other costs. Consequently, the quality of the cloth is lower than it was then, but it is not practicable to say in general terms how much lower. Cloth of the quality which was sold two years ago as 207 can now be obtained under the specification No. 211.

Mr. Rodgers

Since the public are not aware of this debasement, does not the right hon. Gentleman think that he is taking part in the perpetration of a fraud on the public?

Mr. Wilson

Certainly not. It was announced at the time that we were not going to allow prices to rise as much as they would have risen without control, and it was made clear that there would be some debasement of quality.

Sir Waldron Smithers

Will the right hon. Gentleman read, and will he ask his colleagues in the Government to read, the leading article in the "Daily Mail" this morning, headed "The Great Illusion"?

Mr. Speaker

That has nothing to do with the quality of utility cloth No. 207.

9. Mr. Macdonald

asked the President of the Board of Trade, in view of the fact that for the last three months it has been impossible to produce the most expensive Scottish woollen utility cloth, 227C, from poorest carpet wools, and as wool and yarn stocks are being used up rapidly with the result that serious unemployment is threatened, what action he is taking to increase ceiling prices for current utility categories or to issue new categories.

Mr. H. Wilson

Discussions have taken place with the manufacturers on their proposals for increases in the maximum prices for utility wool cloths—including the woollen cloth 227C—to take account of the rise in the world price of raw wool. I hope to make an announcement shortly.

Mr. Macdonald

In view of the rapid rise in raw material prices, is it possible for the right hon. Gentleman to review the utility prices at shorter intervals?

Mr. Wilson

The industry applied for this increase on 27th October, which was some little time after the increase in prices.

Squadron Leader Burden

If it is necessary to include fibre in woollen cloth, will the right hon. Gentleman ensure that a ticket is attached to the garment so that the public may be informed that it is not pure wool?

Mr. Wilson

That is another question.