Yes, Sir. His Majesty's Government have decided that, in view of the shortage of shipping space and the increasing demand for labour and materials for war production, the present level of clothing consumption can no longer be justified.
The coupons on the current card will not expire on 31st May but will remain valid until 10th October, and I hope the public will take advantage of this to postpone their less urgent demands.
For the new period, 60 coupons will be issued to last for 14 months from 1st June, 1942, to 31st July, 1943, but only 20 of these will be valid before 10th October.
Ten supplementary coupons will be issued for each child up to the age of 17, and also to many classes of industrial workers. These supplementary coupons will not be valid before 10th October. Those who at present receive special supplementary allowances will continue to do so, though the numbers of coupons granted may be altered.
I regret that the supply position also makes it necessary for me to curtail the purchases hitherto permitted of civilian clothing and other textiles in connection with the various schemes for Aid to Russia.
Will the right hon. Gentleman make inquiry how it is that there was a partial disclosure of his intentions, as this is the second disclosure of information from the Board of Trade recently?
I do not think in this case the disclosure was anything more than an intelligent anticipation by a competent journalist, who probably saw that my hon. Friend had put this Question on the Paper. There was no disclosure of the figures in the statement at all.