HC Deb 12 July 1955 vol 543 cc1717-9
2. Sir R. Boothby

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he has now considered the representations from the furniture industry that hire-purchase restrictions on furniture should be eased; and what action he proposes to take.

10. Mr. John Hall

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he has now given further consideration to the representations made to him by all sections of the furniture industry; and if he will make a statement.

21. Mr. Emrys Hughes

asked the President of the Board of Trade if, in view of the hardship caused to tenants of new municipal houses as a result of the hire-purchase restrictions on furniture, he will now discontinue these restrictions.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

I have considered these representations carefully, but in present economic conditions it would be, unwise to relax the restrictions.

Sir R. Boothby

May I ask my right hon. Friend whether, in fact, there has been any improvement in the conditions of the furniture manufacturing industry during recent weeks?

Mr. Thorneycroft

Yes, Sir. The unemployment figure has fallen back from 6,345 to 4,802, which is quite a substantial reduction.

Mr. Woodburn

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman if any restrictions are really effective in respect of hire purchase in this industry? I am advised that it is possible to advertise hire purchase with no deposit and practically no conditions at all.

Mr. Thorneycroft

If they are ineffective, I am surprised at the number of complaints I have heard on the subject.

Mr. Hall

While I appreciate that this is part of a general financial policy, and while there may or may not be some reason for departing from or amending these restrictions at present, does not the right hon. Gentleman think that there is some slight inconsistency in a policy which encourages the maximum credit for purchasing houses, but makes it increasingly difficult to turn those houses into homes?

Mr. Thorneycroft

That may be an argument for restrictions on a wider scale, but not for me to depart from them in this instance.

Mr. Hughes

Does not the Minister realise the great hardship to newly-married couples going into municipal houses, and that they are placed in great difficulty in furnishing their homes? Should not he take that into consideration?

Mr. Thorneycroft

I will bear all these matters in mind.

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