Housewives (Domestic Supplies).

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 23rd May 1947.

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Photo of Mr John Belcher Mr John Belcher , Sowerby 12:00 am, 23rd May 1947

To the best of my knowledge no utility ranges of carpets are being exported at all, but I am prepared to check up on that. On the subject of crockery, I am aware that there is a serious grievance. I take a keen interest in these matters and I keep my eyes open, and I have seen considerable supplies of crockery available in some districts. In others I am told there is none available and I have frequently asked for an investigation into the distribution of crockery I am always told that, with small variations, distribution is achieved smoothly over the whole of the country. The manufacturers do their best to see that there is an adequate distribution. We were picking up at the end of last year, but crockery is an industry which is peculiarly susceptible to interference from anything that happens to the fuel supplies, and there has been a serious interference with the crockery industry recently because of the coal shortage. That, again, is something which I hope will pick up before long, because we have been able to make an adjustment in an upward direction.

My hon. Friend mentioned the subject of egg-cups. I was rather struck when he told me that it was possible to buy any amount of egg-cups but that you could not buy cups and saucers and other crockery. It would certainly be wrong if egg cups were being manufactured to the detriment of cups and saucers or tea pots or anything else, so I made an investigation and the answer was that there are large quantities of egg cups being manufactured, and there were during the fuel crisis. I do not know whether my hon. Friend is familiar with the crockery industry. I am not familiar with the terms, but I know that there is a round sort of plate which is pushed into the kiln containing cups and saucers and, in an effort to make the utmost use of the space available inside the kiln, when they have filled this round plate with cups and saucers, they fill in the space in between with eggcups. That is the reason for the large quantity of egg cups, and it is not an attempt to meet the additional demand for egg cups arising out of the Ministry of Food's great success in providing us with more eggs during the last six weeks than we have seen over the last six years.