asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware of the anxiety of expectant mothers caused by his failure to provide perambulators; and what steps he is taking to meet the current demand?
Many manufacturers, who were engaged before the war on perambulators, are now working, wholly or partly, on direct war work. Further, the materials available for perambulator manufacture are very short, particularly plywood and steel. Nevertheless, production has increased considerably since last year, thanks to the co-operation of the trade and as a result of simplification in design. If, however, my hon. Friend has evidence of a serious shortage in any particular area, I shall be glad to look into it.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that one shopkeeper in Middlesbrough said he had orders for 700 perambulators and could not supply more than 10 per cent? Will the right hon. Gentleman realise that this is an important industry and that it ought to be provided with more materials?
I have had this matter very much in mind and have taken special steps in conjunction with the trade to increase production. Production is considerably greater than last year. If my hon. Friend will send me particulars, I shall be glad to have the question of Middlesbrough's share of the output looked into.
But will the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that he will take adequate steps to meet the demand?