HC Deb 28 April 1960 vol 622 cc360-1
4. Mrs. McLaughlin

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he has seen the report on flammability of children's nightwear in the Consumer's Guide, a copy of which has been sent to him; and what action he proposes to take to impress on the public the dangers of these garments and to prevent the manufacture of children's nightdresses from flammable materials.

Mr. Maudling

I have seen the report and welcome the wide publicity it has received. In reply to the second part of the Question, I would refer to the Answer I gave yesterday to my hon. Friend the Member for Hornsey (Lady Gammans) concerning the Interim Report of the Committee on Consumer Protection.

Mrs. McLaughlin

I apologise to my right hon. Friend for the fact that I used the words "Consumer's Guide" in the Question; it should be "Shopper's Guide."

Does my right hon. Friend feel that the time has come for the Government to undertake a determined effort in research on the flammability of materials, because the Interim Report of the Committee on Consumer Protection shows that the Committee did not find it possible yet to recommend compulsion in the matter and still, every day, elderly people and children are being burned because far too many dangerous materials are used in a dangerous way, that is to say, in the manufacture of children's and women's nightwear? Will he now pursue urgently, with the firms which have already done some research, a further effort in his Department with a view to doing some-think worth while in order to stop this terrible slaughter?

Mr. Maudling

This is a very important Report. We have only just received it. We are studying it carefully, and I will certainly bear in mind what my hon. Friend has said.

Mrs. McLaughlin rose

Mr. Speaker

I hope the hon. Lady will not regard her question as a precedent for another one. It was rather on (he long side.

Mr. Darling

Would it not be very helpful to have more rigorous prosecution of manufacturers who put misleading labels upon their products? Further, could help be given to those reputable manufacturers who are getting near to the standards which we want?

Mr. Maudling

I will certainly bear that in mind when considering the Report.

Mrs. Slater

Is there not one recommendation in the Interim Report on Consumer Protection which could be applied almost right away? Would it not help at least those who have already done a tremendous amount of research in producing the right kind of materials and safeguard many small children who may otherwise be burned if manufacturers were forced to put an appropriate label on all materials?

Mr. Maudling

I am very grateful indeed for these suggestions. We shall take them carefully into account in studying the Report.

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