asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware of the long delays involved in connection with the supply of utility furniture ordered by the public after production of the necessary units; and whether he can make a statement indicating the present position in this respect; and what improvements may be expected during the course of this present year.
One hundred new firms have been designated since VJ Day to make utility furniture. This should lead to a gradually increasing production in the coming months. I hope this may result in better deliveries of many articles, but much will depend on the volume of demand as well as upon the availability of materials.
asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is now in a position to increase the number of units supplied to newly-married people for acquiring utility furniture.
No, Sir, not at present. The demand for utility furniture has grown very greatly over recent months, while production, although increasing, is still not adequate to meet it. All possible steps are being taken further to increase production, but the supplies of timber available and in sight make any further material increase unlikely for the present.
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will issue instructions which will ensure the speeding up of the issue of authority for the purchase of utility furniture or, in view of the high price of second-hand furniture, permit the restarting of the manufacture of furniture.
For some time past my Department has been making special efforts to strengthen the staff of the Utility Furniture Department and so to speed up the issue of utility furniture permits; the time spent in dealing with them has been materially reduced in spite of the number of applications having doubled in the last six months. Prices of second-hand furniture in common use are controlled. If we are to make the best use of our limited resources, we cannot at present afford to encourage the production of domestic furniture outside the utility range.