HC Deb 12 February 1953 vol 511 cc576-7
16. Miss Burton

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware of the extent to which the structural strength of wool cloths is debased by the inclusion of large percentages of remanufactured shoddy; and whether he will introduce legislation to ensure that the presence of shoddy shall be made notifiable to the public, in view of the increasing use of remanufactured fibres in the wool industry, to the detriment of the consumer.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

Both recovered and virgin wools vary greatly in quality, and I cannot accept the implication in the Question that the inclusion of the former in wool cloth necessarily debases its structural strength.

Miss Burton

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the value of shoddy consumed in the United Kingdom in 1947 was £49 million, whereas in 1952 it went up to £80 million? Does he not consider that the consumer should be protected? Is it not true that in the United States a labelling scheme has been going on for 10 years, and would he not recommend it here?

Mr. Thorneycroft

The hon. Lady will realise that the term "shoddy" covers a very wide range of recovered wool and that even the Australians, who have a great interest in preserving the sales of raw wool, themselves have had to abandon as quite unworkable an attempt to distinguish between goods made of virgin wool and goods made of recovered wool.

Miss Burton

Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that the Americans have managed to distinguish between them, and that the buying public are very well aware of what is shoddy wool?

Mr. Thorneycroft

I would recommend the hon. Lady to get in touch with her hon. Friends from Yorkshire on the subject.

Mr. Rhodes

Is the Minister aware that if remanufactured wool was not processed, Batley, Dewsbury and Morley would be completely out of work?