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

It certainly does. But as against that plus sign we have to put a minus sign, because all those people who have been demobilised are- now drawing civilian rations, which almost counterbalances. It is impossible for me to say what will be the next clothing ration issue in November, but as against what has happened—against the postponement, for instance, of two months—it has to be remembered that the children's supplementary 10 coupons will be made available in August as usual, and that calls for a considerable amount of clothing. So far, we have not made any increase expressly for growing children, but I hope it will be possible to give them that increased scale which was introduced last year so that the children will suffer much less than other people from the cut male as a result of the fuel crisis. I think that will be of some comfort to the housewives.

I must reiterate that this shortage is not only the result of fuel or labour shortage or shortage of yarn; it is due very largely to the increased standards of living. People are demanding more and better goods than they had in pre-war days, and I am very glad they are, although it creates a problem. These shortages, while they are bound to be with us for some time will, I believe, be gradually overcome if the people of Lancashire and Yorkshire respond, as I am sure they will, to the call which has gone forward from us for modernisation, and reorganisation. If, under the better conditions undoubtedly existing at the present moment in the textile areas, more people will be prepared to return to that industry, then we need not be despondent about the future. But at the present moment we have to face these difficulties. We are well aware of the trials of the housewife; I think her patience has been remarkable—apart from a very small minority who, in the main, I do not believe are housewives at all, certainly not the sort of housewife with whom we are concerned this afternoon. I am very grateful indeed to my hon. Friend for having raised this matter on the Adjournment today.