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Wool Control

Volume 355: debated on Wednesday 6 December 1939

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asked the Minister of Supply what steps he has taken to control and to fix prices for the sale of wool; is he aware that the voluntary organisations who are engaged upon providing comforts, mainly involving knitting, for men serving in all branches of His Majesty's forces are finding great difficulty in purchasing wool, and that the prices charged are nearly prohibitive; and what is he doing to remedy this?

The sale of wool is regulated by a number of Orders made under the Defence Regulations, 1939, which specify maximum prices for wool and certain derivatives up to but not including yarn. Wool acquired by His Majesty's Government is supplied to the industry by the wool control at fixed prices. Demands for yarn by voluntary organisations and others engaged in knitting comforts for the fighting Forces have been very heavy, but arrangements have been made for special allotments of wool to spinners engaged in the supply of wool for such organisations. If the hon. Member has any evidence of unfair prices being charged for knitting yarns, I would suggest that it be brought to the attention of my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the retail price of wool has, since the commencement of the war, risen by 3s. a pound, making the purchase of wool practically prohibitive for voluntary organisations?

No, I am not aware of that, but if there is any suggestion that that price is unfair it ought to be brought to the notice of my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade.

Why is there difficulty in getting wool for the market when Scottish crofters and farmers cannot get anyone to take their wool?


asked the Minister of Supply whether he is aware of the number of cases of textile manufacturers and exporters who, while anxious to observe all reasonable restrictions laid down by the Wool Control, have their trading problems considered and decided by persons with little or no knowledge of the trade; and whether he will do anything to prevent such happenings?

The staff of the Wool Control has been recruited from the trade, and I have no reason to doubt that they possess the knowledge to deal with the problems coming before them.

Has not the Minister received complaints from manufacturers of the kind that I mention in the question?