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

The noble Lady is evidently prepared to carry the matter further than I am. We are proposing to cut out inessential products as well as inessential general lines of products. In the case of jewellery, we propose to limit production to clocks and watches, identification bracelets, cuff-links, studs and plain wedding rings. I am advised that we have a large stock of engagement rings, and therefore it is not necessary for the moment to add to them. I hope what I have said will illustrate the general policy being pursued of what I have called concentration of products. There will be a special saving clause, in the case of factories or workshops or groups of workers, who really cannot be transferred from what they are now making to making anything in the essential list. We are prepared, in special cases, to issue licences permitting them to continue the production of what they are producing now if they can put up a really strong case that they cannot be transferred, and if the materials are available for them to continue their present production. The policy I have outlined will be administered flexibly. We estimate that it will release 30,000 additional workers for munitions or the Services, and it will not merely maintain but will actually increase the supply of articles which have recently been in short supply, by transferring manufacturing facilities to them.