Mr. T. F. RICHARDS
asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that the chairman of the urban district council of Rushden has reported, within the last 14 days, that unemployment still 749W exists in the Raunds and Ringsted district among Army boot and shoe makers; and whether, in these circumstances, he can and will take the opportunity of providing the Department with that class of boot and shoe of which he cannot obtain a sufficiency in time of war, or what action, if any, he intends to take to give this class of operatives employment?
§ Mr. HALDANE
I am informed that unemployment in the boot trade is not confined to that branch that deals with Army boots and shoes. The present requirements of the Army, both as regards current wear and authorised reserves of boots, are adequately met by the orders already placed, and it is, consequently, not proposed to increase these orders. I must point out to the hon. Member that it is the duty of the Contracts Department of the War Office to secure to the Army in peace or war a sufficient provision of the supplies it requires, and this has only been adequately secured by the broadening of the area of supply that has taken place during the last few years.