asked the President of the Board of Trade whether in view of the excellent work done by the Scouts, he will permit them to buy uniforms free of coupons like other similar organisations?
I much appreciate the excellent work done by the Boy Scouts, but, as I informed my hon. Friend the Member for Denbigh (Sir H. Morris-Jones) on 9th December last, I regret that, owing to the ever increasing stringency of supplies, I am unable to agree to a coupon-free issue of these uniforms either to the Boy Scouts or to other similar organisations.
Why should Scouts be discriminated against?
They are not discriminated against. The Boy Scouts in this respect are on the same footing as the Girls' Training Corps, the Girl Guides, the Church Lads' Brigade and all other voluntary organisations, as distinct from those sponsored by the Service Departments.
Will the right hon. Gentleman consider whether it will be possible to give these youth organisations coupon-free uniforms which would be the property of the organisations, only issued on loan? That would go a long way to solving the difficulty.
I should like to make a concession, but I am up against the root fact that supplies are very short indeed, and, knowing, as I do, the moral purpose of the Boy Scout movement, I do not believe, if it is plainly put before them, they will have any sense of grievance.