§ 40. Mr. Osborne
asked the President of the Board of Trade what percentage of the prices paid by the consumer for utility cotton, wool, and leather goods, respectively, is represented by raw materials; and, in view of the recent fall in world prices of these three commodities, when he anticipates being able to lower the prices for utility goods.
§ Mr. Rhodes
The percentage of the retail selling prices represented by the cost of raw materials varies considerably from item to item, and it is not possible to give an answer to the first part of the Question which would be applicable to the whole range of cotton, wool and leather goods respectively.
As to the second part, so far as it relates to utility clothing, I would refer the hon. Member to the statement I made in the debate on that subject on Tuesday last. In regard to utility cotton cloth and household textiles, I expect that, if prices of raw cotton remain at their present level or continue to fall, we shall be able to reduce manufacturers' maximum prices in the early autumn.
§ 74 and 75. Mr. Nally
asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) if he will make a full statement, including all the detailed figures of production costs, and wholesale and retail profit margins, which caused him to sanction the recent substantial increases in the permitted maximum prices of utility footwear;
(2) if he will cause a special investigation to be made by his Department into the excessive prices of children's footwear and clothing; and if he will publish the detailed results of such investigation.
§ Mr. Rhodes
I would refer my hon. Friend to what I said in the House last Tuesday about the effect of the new Orders on footwear prices. I would refer also to the reply I gave my hon. Friend232W the Member for Deptford (Mr. J. Cooper) last Tuesday, when I stated that the cost of leather to manufacturers has on an average increased by about 70 per cent, between May, 1950, and April, 1951, and that the cost of labour also went up during the same period.
As regards a special investigation into the cost of children's clothing, I would refer to the reply given by my hon. and learned Friend on 7th June to the supplementary question asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Itchen (Mr. Morley).