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Furniture Prices Order

Volume 485: debated on Thursday 22 March 1951

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30.

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether related schedule U.F.6 was laid before Parliament with the Furniture (Maximum Prices) Amendment No. 3 Order, 1951; and when copies of this related schedule were made available in the Vote Office.

The answer to the first part of the Question is "Yes, Sir." As regards the second part, I understand that His Majesty's Stationery Office delivered copies of the Order and the related schedule to the Vote Office on the morning of publication, 16th February, 1951.

Can the right hon. Gentleman then explain why his right hon. Friend the Leader of the House, in the debate on 8th March, was only able to produce U.F.5, the schedule which was being abolished, and was completely unable to produce schedule U.F.6? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the whole Order is quite meaningless unless we have schedule U.F.6?

I have already made clear that schedule U.F.6 was available in the Vote Office at the same time as the Order.

As I moved the Prayer in connection with this Order, and as I asked in the afternoon at the Vote Office and the Library for copies of the schedule and could not get them. May I ask is the right hon. Gentleman aware that I was only able to get the Library copy from the Board of Trade by telephoning his private secretary? Why was no copy available on the day of the debate?

I am not, of course, responsible for the administration of the Vote Office, or for whether enough copies were made available, but, as regards the Library, I believe there was some misunderstanding, and I understand that hon. Members who expressed interest were assured afterwards that copies were available.

Can the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that, in future, in the event of any debates being permitted on Prayers, the schedules will be available in sufficient quantities to ensure that, at least, the Leader of the House has one?

It is certainly my desire that they should be available in sufficient quantities for all hon. Members, but it is not my responsibility to instruct the Vote Office on how many copies they should take. The Vote Office can have as many copies as they ask for, and I am sure that those responsible for this question will notice the very fair point made by hon. Gentlemen opposite. It is desirable that, when these questions are raised in the House, all the essential documents should be available, because I quite agree that, without the schedule, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to understand the main Order.