§ Mr. A. Hollins
asked the Minister of Supply whether he is aware that the rise in the prices of sponges continues and are now 300 to 400 per cent. over prewar prices and of an inferior quality; and if he will give consideration to the bulk purchase of sponges by the Government with a view to reducing the price to the pottery operatives who use considerable quantities of soft sponges in the manufacture of pottery as the present excessive prices are causing hardship.
§ Mr. Peat
Blight in the Bahamas fisheries and the outting off of supplies from the Aegean and Greece owing to enemy occupation have greatly raised prices to importers, but I hope that the progress of the war will ease the position. In the conditions of this trade I do not think Government purchase would be more economical than importation through trade channels. The supply of sponges to pottery operatives at specially reduced prices would appear to be a matter for the pottery industry itself, which has, I understand, taken some steps in that direction.