Armed Forces: Uniforms

Defence written question – answered on 21st April 2008.

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Photo of Bob Spink Bob Spink Independent Conservative, Castle Point

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent assessment he has made of the alternatives to using bearskin for the manufacture of Guards' caps; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Bob Ainsworth Bob Ainsworth The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

The MOD has been actively seeking an acceptable alternative to real fur for some years and continues to invest in samples and treatments of imitation bearskin. Although successful in identifying fur alternatives for other aspects of ceremonial dress, replicating the complex structure of bear's fur has proven to be a significant challenge and no suitable fur alternative to the Guards bearskin cap has yet been identified. A number of trials have taken place but unfortunately proved unsuccessful. Further trials will take place once suitable products have been identified.

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