Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Maximum Clothing Prices.

asked the Minister for Supplies whether he will have further consideration given to the possibility of reducing the present maximum prices for the more essential articles of clothing as fixed by Emergency Powers (Cloth and Clothing) (Maximum Prices) Order, 1943.

When the Emergency Powers (Cloth and Clothing, (Maximum Prices) Order, 1943, was framed, regard was had to the necessity of having prices of essential articles of clothing for the poorer sections of the community as low as possible and reduced wholesale and retail margins on certain essential articles within a given price range were provided for in that Order. In the Amending Order which came into force on the 22nd October, 1943, the price ranges on which reduced traders' margins were operative were increased.

The question of the price of clothing generally is receiving constant attention in my Department and every effort is being made to keep prices of essential articles of clothing at a reasonable level.

Is the Minister not aware that published reports of the companies in the trade appeared recently, and that the earnings of the companies were summarised in the daily Press? In the light of these reports, would he not consider it essential to make a further reduction in the price of the more essential articles of clothing, especially in view of the fact that there is still a profit margin of from 53 per cent. to 70 per cent. allowed on manufacturers' prices?

The Deputy misunderstands the margin allowed. I would point out, however, that the reports of the operations of the companies now being published relate to a period of time in which price control was not in operation, and that most of those companies, if not all of them, engage in many other forms of trade besides the sale of clothing which is subject to price control regulations. The maximum margin allowed on retail sale for any article covered by the regulations is 50 per cent. and I think that, in relation to most of the cheaper classes of articles, the maximum margin allowed is 33? per cent.

Is the Minister not aware that, in many cases, those companies enjoy the wholesale and retail profit margin?

That could happen.