HC Deb 22 June 1950 vol 476 cc1451-2
8. Mr. Dodds

asked the President of the Board of Trade to what extent supplies of nylon stockings to the home market are showing any increase from the latest scheme which is linked with increased exports to hard currency markets.

Mr. H. Wilson

The scheme has been in operation only seven weeks and it is too soon yet to assess its effects, but the early indications are promising, and I am confident that it will result in increased exports to hard currency markets. This, in turn, will enable manufacturers to offer more stockings for sale on the home market.

Mr. Dodds

Is my right hon. Friend aware that he has made several announcements about increased supplies during the past two or three years, and it appears that they have only resulted in unlimited supplies on the London open-air and street markets at above controlled prices? Is he not aware that some women prefer nylons to food and drink, or even to husbands, while others think they are vital in order to get husbands?

Mr. Wilson

I cannot answer the last part of that question. For the last year, the supplies of nylon stockings have gone up from the annual rate of seven million pairs to 20.4 million pairs in April this year, and I am not responsible for the method of distribution.

Mr. Nigel Davies

In view of the incentive value of nylon stockings, will the right hon. Gentleman consider abolishing all compunction on manufacturers to export to soft, as opposed to hard, currency countries?

Mr. Wilson

As the hon. Gentleman knows, there is a very strong incentive available to manufacturers to export to hard currency areas, and that, in return for it, they are entitled to put more on the home market.

Mrs. Jean Mann

Can my right hon. Friend say whether the best qualities are exported, and only the third, fourth and fifth qualities kept for the home market?

Mr. Wilson

A proportion of all qualities is available both for export and for the home market.

Mr. Yates

Can my right hon. Friend say why, while nylons appear to be in unlimited supplies in London, in provincial cities like Birmingham they cannot be obtained at all?