HC Deb 31 May 1951 vol 488 cc387-8
18. Mr. William Wells

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that the consumption of wool by Yorkshire mills fell during March for the seventh month in succession; and what effect this trend will have on the production and price of utility clothing.

Sir H. Shawcross

I am aware that consumption of raw wool by the United Kingdom industry has been falling in recent months, but this decline has been to a large extent offset by increased use of other fibres, particularly recovered wool. As a result, the total consumption of fibres by the wool industry in the first quarter of this year was only some 5 per cent. less than the rate in the corresponding period of 1950. I think it unlikely that a reduction of this order will of itself have any marked effect on the production or prices of utility clothing.

Mr. Wells

In view of this trend and the fact that raw wool prices are falling in Australia, will my right hon. and learned Friend give very close scrutiny to any demand which may be made for increased prices of utility goods?

Sir H. Shawcross

That is certainly a matter which I have under constant attention and which I am watching, particularly in the case of wool.

Mr. Rankin

Will my right hon. and learned Friend tell us what steps are being taken to ensure that manufacturers get utility cloth at the present time?

Sir H. Shawcross

That is really another matter, but I can assure my hon. Friend that the question of maintaining supplies of utility cloth to the manufacturers is one the importance of which I do not for a moment overlook, and I am in consultation with my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal about these problems.