Discarded Service Boots (Sale).

Oral Answers to Questions — Ministry of Supply. – in the House of Commons on 25th February 1942.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Sir Granville Gibson Sir Granville Gibson , Pudsey and Otley

asked the Minister of Supply why two firms, particulars of which have been communicated to him by the hon. Member for Pudsey and Otley, are able to advertise for sale nearly 1,000,000 pairs of Army and Royal Air Force boots, highly selected, some ready for sale without repairs, at 2s. to 3s. per pair;-whether these boots have been discarded by the Government Department controlling supplies; and whether he is satisfied that they are no longer repairable or of further use at a time when there is a prospective shortage of hides suitable for these types of footwear?

Photo of Sir Andrew Duncan Sir Andrew Duncan , City of London

The boots in question were discarded by Service Departments as unfit and unrepairable for use by Service personnel. Such boots are purchased by firms who, generally after reconditioning, dispose of them in lots for civilian use as footwear or material for boot repairing, etc. The use of discarded Service boots in this way helps to relieve the shortage of hides.

Photo of Sir Granville Gibson Sir Granville Gibson , Pudsey and Otley

While thanking my right hon. Friend for his reply, may I ask him whether, if it is true as he has stated that these goods are unrepairable, he cannot take some action to stop these people from advertising the boots as being "highly selected" and suitable for sale without any repairs being necessary?

Photo of Sir Andrew Duncan Sir Andrew Duncan , City of London

When originally disposed of, they were unrepairable for Service purposes. The purchasers are, of course, able to repair them for ordinary civilian use.

Photo of Sir Percy Harris Sir Percy Harris , Bethnal Green South West

Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied that 1,000,000 boots were unsuitable for re-issue, and will he really inquire into the matter and satisfy himself that there was no waste?

Photo of Sir Andrew Duncan Sir Andrew Duncan , City of London

I shall be very glad to inquire into it. The question as to whether the boots were suitable for Service purposes rests, of course, with the Service authorities.

Photo of Sir Granville Gibson Sir Granville Gibson , Pudsey and Otley

Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that in the advertisements two categories of boots are described, one repaired and another unrepaired and not requiring repair, and that it is to the latter category that the million pairs I referred to in my Question belong?

Photo of Sir Andrew Duncan Sir Andrew Duncan , City of London

I have had the advertisements before me, and my reply still stands.

Photo of Mr Jack Lawson Mr Jack Lawson , Chester-le-Street

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that these boots have been sold in certain areas for a few coppers a pair, so that people get them much more cheaply than the prices at which they are advertised here?