Clothes Rationing.

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Commerce. – in the House of Commons on 7th July 1942.

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Photo of Sir Spencer Summers Sir Spencer Summers , Northampton

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will revise the system for the issue of supplementary clothing coupons to those engaged in industry whose work is considered such as to warrant them in such a way as will allow managerial staff to have them in appropriate cases; what is the justification for more supplementary clothing coupons being issued to maintenance fitters than to electricians; and whether he will expedite the introduction of new procedure so as to eliminate the present anomalies and do away with the growing discontent and hardship under the present arrangements?.

Photo of Mr Hugh Dalton Mr Hugh Dalton , Bishop Auckland

During the past rationing period the distribution of supplementary clothing coupons to industrial workers, in spite of many difficulties, worked well. On the evidence submitted to me, it was not established that the needs of electricians were the same as those of maintenance fitters. I hope that in the present rationing period the arrangements, with certain changes which I have in mind, will work even more smoothly than before, but my hon. Friend will appreciate that, in view of the supply position, special care must be exercised in the granting of supplementary coupons.

Photo of Sir Spencer Summers Sir Spencer Summers , Northampton

Will the Minister be prepared to consider representations made to him in connection with certain anomalies which now exist and which, in the view of those affected, should be brought to an end as soon as possible?

Photo of Mr Hugh Dalton Mr Hugh Dalton , Bishop Auckland

Yes, Sir, I would be very glad to consider every representation.

Photo of Mr James Wootton-Davies Mr James Wootton-Davies , Heywood and Radcliffe

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in view of the fact that his ships' surveyors are being granted an additional clothing coupon allowance hitherto not available to civilian engineer surveyors doing similar work, he will be prepared to remove this disability attaching to the latter, since their clothing and footwear suffers to a greater degree than that of the Government surveyors?

Photo of Mr Hugh Dalton Mr Hugh Dalton , Bishop Auckland

The ships' surveyors of the Ministry of War Transport, to whom I think my hon. Friend is referring, did not receive any supplementary coupons in the last rationing period. For the current period I am considering the claims of all those engaged on work of this kind, but I shall make no distinction between those in Government and those in civilian employment.

Photo of Sir Ian Fraser Sir Ian Fraser , Lonsdale

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will consider the desirability of providing members of the Girls' Training Corps with free uniforms, or, at least, permitting them to buy their uniform without giving up coupons, so as to treat them similarly to the boys in the Air Training Corps and other junior organisations?

Photo of Mr Hugh Dalton Mr Hugh Dalton , Bishop Auckland

I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the reply which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for the Combined English Universities (Miss Rathbone) on 23rd June.

Photo of Sir Ian Fraser Sir Ian Fraser , Lonsdale

If that reply was unsatisfactory, will the President of the Board of Trade reconsider it?

Photo of Mr Hugh Dalton Mr Hugh Dalton , Bishop Auckland

I have given a good deal of consideration to this matter, and there is very great difficulty in the way of adopting the suggestion that my hon. and gallant Friend proposes.

Photo of Sir Ian Fraser Sir Ian Fraser , Lonsdale

Will my right hon. Friend make some explanation to these girls which win satisfy them either that they have been fairly treated or permit them to buy their uniforms?

Photo of Mr Hugh Dalton Mr Hugh Dalton , Bishop Auckland

I should be prepared to make a reasoned statement in appropriate circumstances.

Photo of Sir Patrick Hannon Sir Patrick Hannon , Birmingham Moseley

Does the Minister realise the important part of the uniform in the Youth Movement, and will he consider very carefully whether something cannot be done to issue uniform to these girls?

Photo of Mr Hugh Dalton Mr Hugh Dalton , Bishop Auckland

The uniform of these girls consists of a blue-serge skirt and a white shirt, which, as I indicated in my reply last week, are suitable, generally speaking, to be worn in ordinary circumstances. It is not possible for the President of the Board of Trade to issue uniform, as suggested in the Question, but with regard to coupon-free issues, I have to have regard to the supply situation and to many other circumstances, and it is very difficult, much as I would like to do it, to make any further concessions.