HC Deb 25 March 1946 vol 421 cc9-11W
82. Mr. G. Thomas

asked the President of the Board of trade if he is aware that new clothing regulations which took effect from 13th March, 1946, only reached retailers on that date; and if he will take steps to ensure that a longer period of notice is given in future.

Mr. Belcher

We arc always anxious that reasonable notice should, where possible, be given of detailed changes affecting the trade. In this particular instance, however, my right hon. and, learned Friend the President of the Board of Trade had made a preliminary statement as early as 4th March, in reply to Questions. In view of the widespread interest that this announcement had aroused and the many speculations about the nature of the down pointing that were appearing in the Press, it was obviously desirable to bring the changes into effect as quickly as possible. The details of these changes were finally decided on 8th March, and a notice setting them out was accordingly issued to the Press for publication on 9th March.

84. Brigadier Rayner

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that Servicemen on leave in this country who are now allowed to wear civilian clothes, and who are anxious to do so, find in many cases that their prewar civilian clothes no longer fit them, and that, without coupons, they are unable to obtain other suits; and -whether some action will be taken to enable them to take advantage of the permission to wear civilian clothes.

Mr. Belcher

I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the reply given to the hon. and gallant Member for Bodmin (Mr. D. Marshall) on 25th February.

86. Mr. W. Fletcher

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will consider arranging a special increased issue of coupons for disabled men who are compelled to use crutches with consequent greater wear and tear on clothes; and will he consider increasing the inadequate special clothing allowance where artificial limbs are used to bring this allowance into line with present day cost of clothing.

Mr. Belcher

Yes, Sir. Applications for extra clothing coupons from people who have to use crutches or other surgical appliances over a considerable period are always sympathetically considered. The last part of the Question is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Minister of Pensions.

93. Mr. Sorensen

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in view of inadequate suitable clothing worn by some children owing to the shortage of coupons, the possibility will be considered of allowing a small number of coupons to be issued to responsible school officials to be used at their discretion in urgent cases.

Mr. Belcher

As the hon. Member will be aware, children receive supplements additional to their basic ration and it is not possible at present to be more generous.

Mr. Amory

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware of the inadequacy of the present allocation of clothing coupons to farm workers, in view of the exceptionally heavy wear and tear of this work on clothing and boots; and whether he will take steps to increase their allotment substantially in order to do justice to this section of the community.

Mr. Belcher

No, Sir. Farm workers already receive the Industrial Ten and they can obtain against certificates issued by the county agricultural executive committees coupon free supplies of agricultural gloves, oilskin coats, capes, trousers, leggings or gaiters, rubber boots, milking overalls and oilskin sleeves.

Mr. Mitchison

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that, owing to the demand for demobilisation clothing, delivery of other suits of clothing by manufacturers or wholesalers to retailers has been delayed, with a consequent delay in the delivery by retailers to customers; and whether, in the event of such delay the customer, if cancelling his order, is entitled under the regulations to the return of the clothing coupons lodged when the order was placed.

Mr. Belcher

I am aware of this state of Affairs. Under the Consumer Rationing. Order, a person holding coupons on deposit is required, if so requested by the customer at any time, to return the coupons deposited. I hope, however, that, in such circumstances, customers will be slow to exercise their legal rights, since the delay is not the fault of the retailer and arises from our duty to re-equip those who are demobilised.