HC Deb 29 March 1955 vol 539 cc195-6
50. Mr. Bellenger

asked the Secretary of State for War why the Army continues to use out-of-date cleaning material, such as blanco; and when he is introducing more labour-saving personal equipment in order to economise in manpower.

Mr. Head

Blanco has been replaced by a new cleaner called " Web Equipment Renovator." This is already being used at home and I hope that enough will soon be available for the Army overseas as well. We have also introduced untarnishable metal fittings on web equipment and untarnishable buttons, and this will save time but not manpower.

Mr. Bellenger

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he has had, as I have, personal experience of this renovator, as he calls it? Does he realise that even today, with this new web equipment cleaner, there is a tremendous amount of time wasted, apart from the necessary time spent on smartness? Cannot he save manpower in the same way as housewives have saved it by not blackleading their grates?

Mr. Head

I have seen this stuff, and I think it is much quicker and easier to use than blanco. I also think that the untarnishable buttons will save a lot of time.

Captain Pilkington

Will my right hon. Friend see that a tin of blanco is put in the Imperial War Museum?

Mr. Dodds

Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that those now using this new web equipment cleaning material say that it is much too expensive? What has he to say about that?

Mr. Head

I do not know the comparative price, but I am told that it lasts longer than blanco.

Mr. Renton

Can my right hon. Friend assure the House that he is not oblivious of the moral advantages of a little spit and polish?

Mr. Head

This stuff does not in any way diminish smartness. The new buttons shine, and the new web equipment renovator makes a belt look just as good as did blanco.

Mr. G. Jeger

The name of this new material seems to be very long. Can the right hon. Gentleman tell us what the soldiers call it?