Industrial Concentration and Retail Trade.

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons on 23rd July 1942.

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Photo of Mr Hugh Dalton Mr Hugh Dalton , Bishop Auckland

If the hon. Gentleman wants us to look into fountain pens, we will do so. The Parliamentary Secretary is to reply at the end of the Debate, and I suggest it would make for the convenience of later speakers if I were not required to interrupt the line of argument too much at this stage, as it might lead to my taking longer than I want to do of the time of the Committee. The question of fountain pens will be noted, and a reply will be made at the end of the Debate.

There is a further point in connection with the policy of concentration. I have spoken so far of the concentration of different firms and of utility production of a number of commodities, but I want to say a word on what may be called the concentration of products. In connection with the developments of which I have been speaking and the need to get the maximum output of essential articles for the civilian population, it has been felt for some time that the old Limitation of Supplies Orders were not quite enough. They operated upon groups of products. There was a limitation on the total glassware, for example, that might be sold. We have felt that, the time has come to concentrate production upon particular articles within the group which are most urgently needed by the consumers. Therefore, in the case of glassware, we are concentrating as from the beginning of August, subject to one concession that I will mention, upon the production of tumblers, jugs, mugs and small mirrors. We have decided that, on the whole, a small mirror is as good as a large mirror on the wall. If it is large enough for one to see one's face, it is large enough for practical purposes.