HC Deb 10 February 1948 vol 447 cc37-8W
78. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the President of the Board of Trade when it is anticipated that more supplies of the goods most urgently needed will be available for the people; and if a plan of production has been worked out showing the dates and quantities of the urgent consumption goods that the people can look forward to.

Mr. Bottomley

Our production plans are necessarily aimed first at increasing exports so as to finance our essential imports, and increased supplies of consumption goods on the home market must depend on increased output, which is governed partly by the availability of raw materials and, in the important case of textiles, quite largely by the rate of increase of the labour force, Moreover, the absorptive capacity of foreign markets can never be accurately gauged and this is bound to impose an element of uncertainty into any calculations of the amount that will be available at any particular time for the home market.

I am glad to say that home supplies of certain essential goods, for example, cutlery and perambulators, are already easier, but in other directions, for example, pottery, I can foresee no important change in the supply position for a considerable time. As regards clothing, I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given on 27th January to my hon. Friend the Member for South Battersea (Mrs. Ganley) on the clothing ration.