HC Deb 08 April 1946 vol 421 cc256-7W
70. Mr. S. Shephard

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that the production of furnishing fabrics does not exceed 5 per cent, of prewar production and that as a consequence, retailers are unable to supply these fabrics against Board of Trade dockets; and what action he proposes to take to increase supplies for the home market.

84. Mr. J. Lewis

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that retailers are finding ii impossible to supply furnishing fabrics against the Board of Trade dockets to acquire 15 square yards, as the existing system of licensing production makes it impossible for them to get their stock replaced by their suppliers against the surrender of the pink dockets.

Mr. Belcher:

The: production of furnishing fabrics has necessarily been extremely small since 1940, but production has been slowly increasing. Reliable figures of prewar production are riot available, but it appears likely that production in 1945 was in the region of 10 per cent. of prewar. Supplies in 1946 should be at least double this quantity. The bulk of the material is utility fabric, which is reserved for the holders of priority dockets. and the increasing supplies of this fabric should gradually reduce the present difficulties in meeting docket demand.

79. Mr. J. Lewis

asked the President of the Board of Trade why the production of furnishing fabrics for all purposes today including utility furniture, does not exceed 5 per cent. of prewar production; and in view of the unsatisfactory position in respect of both domestic and export requirements he will undertake an investigation into the methods of licensing production under the existing regulations.

Mr. Belcher:

With regard to the first part of the Question, I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer given today to him and to the hon. Member for Newark (Mr. S. Shephard). With regard to the methods of licensing production, the production of utility furnishing fabrics is planned with the Cotton Control and is not affected by the licensing arrangements. Production of non-utility fabric has been diverted to this use. Licences are issued freely wherever suitable yarn is available, and the system of licensing is under constant review in order to avoid any unnecessary restrictions.