Rubber Boots (Agricultural Workers)

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Commerce – in the House of Commons on 17th November 1942.

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Photo of Mr Douglas Clifton Brown Mr Douglas Clifton Brown , Hexham

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will issue permits to county war agricultural committees for rubber boots for agricultural labourers whose boots are worn out?

Photo of Mr Hugh Dalton Mr Hugh Dalton , Bishop Auckland

Owing to the acute shortage of rubber the production of rubber boots has been drastically curtailed. A fair share of the very limited supplies has been allocated to agricultural workers and, within this allocation, buying permits are issued each quarter through the county war agricultural committees.

Brigadier-General Brown:

Was it not promised that agricultural labourers should have these boots?

Photo of Mr Hugh Dalton Mr Hugh Dalton , Bishop Auckland

Yes, Sir. I said that buying permits are issued from the county war agricultural committees out of the limited supply. We make them go as far as we can, and I anxious that agricultural workers should have their fair share.

Brigadier-General Brown:

In the cases I have in mind there are any amount of boots in the shops, but they have not the permits that the agricultural committees want to give but cannot give.

Photo of Mr Hugh Dalton Mr Hugh Dalton , Bishop Auckland

Yes, but I have to try to make the limited supply go round, including the supplies to the shops.

Photo of Mr Alfred Barnes Mr Alfred Barnes , East Ham South

May I ask whether the distribution of these permits is left to the discretion of agricultural committees or whether the agricultural labourers have any right of application?

Photo of Mr Hugh Dalton Mr Hugh Dalton , Bishop Auckland

Perhaps my hon. Friend will be good enough to put down that Question.

Photo of Mr Edgar Granville Mr Edgar Granville , Eye

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in many country shops in Eastern England it is impossible to get these boots, and that if you walk round any town shops you can get as many as you like; and will he give a fair distribution, as it is no use getting permits if you cannot get the boots?

Photo of Mr Hugh Dalton Mr Hugh Dalton , Bishop Auckland

My hon. Friend is misinformed in saying that he can get as many boots as he likes. If he will tell me where he can get as-many as he likes, I shall be obliged.