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?
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 1452 right hon. Gentleman consider abolishing all compunction on manufacturers to export to soft, as opposed to hard, currency countries?
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?