asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware of the scarcity of crockery in certain districts; and what steps he is proposing to take for priority issue to those housewives who have increased needs due to war workers and evacuee children being billeted upon them?
I am aware of the scarcity of crockery; exports have been reduced since 1st May, and other steps are being taken to increase supplies. A survey is being undertaken to ascertain the areas in which the shortage is relatively greatest, and supplies will be specially directed to those areas.
The possibility of increasing the production of plastic tableware is being examined in consultation with the Ministry of Supply and the industry. Manufacturers of articles of plastic material are heavily engaged, however, on important Government work, and they can make only a relatively small contribution to our total requirements of crockery.
asked the President of the Board of Trade what benefit has accrued in relation to the availability of undecorated low-priced crockery consequent upon recent provisions; whether he is aware of the great shortage still existing for essential purposes; what other steps he proposes to take to ensure more manufacture of these articles and their ready supply at proper prices?
I am aware that there is still a shortage of domestic pottery, in spite of the fact that since 1st December there has been no limitation on the supply of these goods for the home market. My right hon. Friend has accordingly restricted the exports of pottery to 80 per cent. of the 1941 level for the three months May-July and has warned the industry to expect a further reduction from August to 60 per cent. or less, with the object of releasing productive capacity for essential home supplies. An order controlling prices has been drafted and will be signed very soon.