HC Deb 02 December 1952 vol 508 cc1274-5
43. Air Commodore Harvey

asked the President of the Board of Trade what steps he is taking to improve the number of nylon stockings available to the home market.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade (Mr. Henry Strauss)

I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the reply given to the hon. Member for Coatbridge and Airdrie (Mrs. Mann) on 20th November last.

Air Commodore Harvey

But is my hon. and learned Friend aware that that reply does not get us very far and that it is practically impossible to buy a pair of nylons in the shops at the present time? How does he expect women to go into industry and give of their best when they find it impossible to spend their money on these very necessary items?

Mr. Strauss

My hon. and gallant Friend will be aware that new plant is being constructed by which it is hoped to treble the production of nylon yarn by the end of 1954. Meanwhile, he may like to know the comparative figures for this year and previous years. In 1950, the deliveries to the home market were 26½ million pairs; in 1951, 44½ million pairs, and in the first 10 months of this year 64 million pairs.

Mr. Janner

Is the Minister aware that there is considerable consternation amongst the manufacturers of nylon stockings in Leicester and that district at the fact that the reduction has been in the nature of from 10 to 40 per cent. for the present period? Is he aware that a very large number of people are becoming unemployed in consequence of failure to supply adequate yarn for the production of these stockings? What is the Minister going to do about it?

Mr. Strauss

The hon. Member must be aware of the importance of exports and, as I have said in previous answers, exports must have first consideration.

Mr. Janner

That is not an answer to my question.

Mr. Bottomley

Can the Minister say why, with the fall in sales of nylon stockings to the overseas market, it is not possible to buy more on the home market?

Mr. Strauss

If the right hon. Gentleman had heard my reply he would have known that considerably more had been supplied to the home market.

Mrs. Mann

Is the Minister not aware that there is now a very strong coalition on this subject of nylon stockings? While his reply does not take us very far, is he suggesting that we shall have to wait until 1954 before we can step out at all?

Mr. Strauss

I hope that the hon. Lady will not become unduly depressed. I said that by the end of 1954 production of nylon yarn would have been trebled.