HC Deb 06 November 1945 vol 415 cc1209-10W
Mr. Gibson

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he is aware that people needing gas cooking stoves cannot get them on hiring terms, though they can be purchased outright; and whether he will take steps to ensure an adequate supply of cooking stoves to be let on hiring terms which the poorer people can afford to pay.

Mr. Shinwell

The production of gas cookers is at a very low level and most of them are required for housing programmes. Consequently, a very small and intermittent supply of cookers is left for gas undertakings, who find it difficult to make regular arrangements for disposing of them by hire or hire-purchase. As soon as the supply improves the gas industry will resume its normal practice of hiring out cookers. To introduce these facilities at this stage would, to little purpose, impose a considerable strain on gas undertakings, which are already short staffed.

Major Lloyd

asked the President of the Board of Trade what is the present annual output capacity in gas and electric cookers in this country.

Mr. Wilmot

I have been asked to reply. The approximate present annual rate of output of gas and electric cookers is respectively 100,000 and 60,000. Potential capacity is considerably higher, but production is at present restricted by the shortage of labour, particularly in the iron foundries. All possible steps are being taken to improve the position.