Mr. Hugh Dalton, President of the Board of Trade, in a war commentary at Caxton Hall, Westminster, yesterday, said that we must make our clothes and all our household goods last longer. “It is inevitable that as the war continues there should be an increasing shortage of civilian supplies,” he said, “The nearer we approach the hour of final victory the greater will the shortage be.
“At this stage of the war, we can no longer justify any production which does not serve a real war purpose, including the maintenance of necessary civilian supplies. I have therefore taken steps to bring all inessential production to an end, and to transfer the labour and materials involved to more essential uses.
“Fair shares, with the reduced clothing ration, mean extra coupons for those with special needs – growing children and industrial workers, – but there should be all possible economy in clothing, and people should not use their coupons unless they must. It is now bad form to appear in clothes that look too new.”
Mr. Dalton said it was hoped soon to have utility cutlery and suitcases, and perhaps a few more articles of utility furniture, which should be of sound construction within the limits of the materials available, agreeable design, and sold at reasonable prices, he said the “first edition” had had an encouraging reception.
“This furniture will be sold only to those who really need it and hold special buying permits, such as newly married people and people who have been bombed out.”
“I am aiming at ‘fair shares’ not only as between consumers but also as between traders. I have now set up the three committees I promised to organise the fair distribution of clothing, pottery, and hollowware.”
Under the stress of war, said Mr. Dalton, the nation knew that it must plan or perish. To this end, if our people were satisfied that justice was being done, they would cheerfully endure great shortages. “But from our experience of war-planning and from the lessons we are learning now a pattern for the future is emerging. We must find a way, in peace, when abundance shall have succeeded scarcity, to retain our war-time gains of fair shares, fair prices, and a healthy simplification in the ways of living and in the design of goods in common use.”