HC Deb 12 November 1953 vol 520 cc1118-9
11. Mrs. Castle

asked the President of the Board of Trade what progress has been made with marking rayon cloths which satisfy tests of shrink resistance and colour fastness, as promised in his speech to the House of 13th March, 1952.

17. Miss Burton

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that the British Standards Institution have refused to give their quality mark to the rayon standards recently published; and if, in view of his statement to the House that, following tests, such cloths would be marked, he will re-examine the position.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

The British Standards Institution published in September a group of three standards dealing with finishing properties—colour fastness and shrink resistance—of woven rayon dress and lingerie fabrics. These standards provide for identification of fabrics complying with the specifications by means of a prescribed statement on accompanying invoices or other similar documents. The industry made no request for the use of the Institution certification mark and no question of refusal by the Institution therefore arises.

Mrs. Castle

Will the right hon. Gentleman again advise housewives how these standards can be enforced and what redress they have if they are not enforced?

Mr. Thorneycroft

They can, of course, ask for them; but on the interpretation of the Merchandise Marks Acts I do not think it is proper for me to advise. That is a matter for the courts.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

Will my right hon. Friend consider advising the Opposition on the subject of colour fastness?

Miss Burton

Is it not the fact that in his speech to the House on 13th March, 1952, the right hon. Gentleman said that these goods would be marked, whereas now, 18 months later, we are told that no marking of these cloths is necessary, but that it will be done on the invoice? What use does the right hon. Gentleman think an invoice will be to the housewife who goes into a shop?

Mr. Thorneycroft

It is true that in March, 1952, I repeated the assurance given to me by the rayon industry that the cloths would be marked. The arrangements they have made have gone a long way to meet what they said then, but it does not include this marking.

Miss Burton

Does the President not agree that the only thing that would be useful to the housewife is that the goods themselves in the shops should carry this marking? Is he prepared to look at the matter again? The invoice is not of the slightest use to the housewife.

Mr. Thorneycroft

I must make it absolutely plain that I am not prepared to introduce compulsory marking in this matter.