A History of the Ministry of Information, 1939-46

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Wt 16746. 10M 5/44. W.R.R. & S. Ltd. GP 38. (14).

No. 198. 20th July, 1944

(Covering period from 11th to 18th July, 1944)


1. General

Spirits remain high; the “startling” Russian advance has increased optimism that the war in Europe will end this year.

People are disappointed at the slow progress in Normandy, which they compare with the speed of the Russians. (No reports received since the break-through of July 18.)

The flying bomb and, still more, the arrival of evacuees from London and the South overshadow everything else on the home front.

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13 18 passim)

2. Flying bombs

The country as a whole

Flying bombs continue the main topic. The general view remains substantially unchanged - that these raids are extremely unpleasant, more so even than the blitz, but will make no difference to the outcome of the war. There is anxiety for friends and relatives in the South, and great admiration and sympathy for Londoners - particularly when they remain in London. There, is some concern as the the effect on the morale of people in the South of continuous raids and lack of sleep; it is feared, too, that production will suffer.

The Prime Minister's statement is again widely credited with putting the raids in perspective and reducing rumours. Though people regret that he did not speak sooner and was not more reassuring about the future, there is great satisfaction that he dealt with the question so fully and that he refused to be optimistic. People in London and the South East seem better pleased now that his “brutal frankness” has made the rest of the country more sympathetic.

Rumours , though greatly checked by Mr. Churchill's statement, persist and are even thought to be increasing once again. This is considered to be due to:

(a) Evacuees , who are giving the impression that “it's sheer hell in London” and spreading tales of horror. Some go on to explain that “it wasn't fright that brought them north, but sheer exhaustion”.

Evacuees' accounts tend to discount official statements, as there is an uneasy feeling that the evacuees have first-hand experience and speak with authority. They are said to resent the press “attitude of belittlement”, both as casting doubt on their courage and as not increasing sympathy for them in unaffected areas.

(b) Lack of information . More definite information is again asked for in order to dispel rumours, lessen anxiety, and create more sympathy in evacuation areas. The Government and press are thought by many to be minimising the damage, which is believed to be far worse than officially admitted. Even Mr. Churchill's figures are doubted, and it is particularly thought that casualties are being played down. Thus, of the 8,000 mentioned by Mr. Churchill as having been injured, 4,000 are rumoured to be already dead. People ask that full casualty figures be given, even if the areas cannot be mentioned.

Countermeasures : Occupation of the areas from which the bombs are launched is generally considered the only cure. Bombing the launching sites is thought to do some good but to be only temporarily effective, if new bases can be quickly erected. A minority suggest that commandos or parachutists might raid the areas, or that French patriots might locate and sabotage the projection sites.

A few are critical that, being forewarned, the Government were not more effectively forearmed. Others ask what is the use of air supremacy when the Germans have developed a new weapon.

Deep shelters : Though people are very relieved that these are now open, there is criticism of the Government for not having had them ready at the start, if they had been expecting flying bombs for some time.

Worse to come : Continued speculation as to “what other weapons Hitler has up his sleeve”. In addition to those mentioned last week, there are now references to the possibility of bacteria and “a super-fearsome weapon which is horrific and can wipe out places as far afield as Birmingham”. It is also rumoured that the Germans have a rocket or bomb capable of reaching New York, and that the captured emplacements at Cherbourg were facing America.

Reprisals are increasingly favoured, but it still appears only to be a minority who want them. The systematic obliteration of German cities seems the retaliation most favoured, though some advocate our using flying bombs. Objections to retaliation are the familiar ones; in addition it is feared that the Germans would revenge themselves by shooting Allied prisoners of war.


Much discussion continues about the many official evacuees arriving in the reception areas throughout the country. There is comment about:

Their reception , which is described as mixed:

  1. Good . In many cases people have been sympathetic and ready to help; they have been eager to offer accommodation, particularly to unaccompanied children. The cleanliness and behavior of the children are praised ... “much better than last time”. There is, however, some fear of the forthcoming holidays, as the billetors will have to look after the children all the time.

  2. Bad . There has been considerable reluctance to billet pregnant women and mothers with children, and in some cases any evacuees at all; “some people hearing of evacuees have locked their houses and gone away”. This attitude is mostly attributed to unfortunate earlier experience.

Billeting difficulties : These are:

  1. The already acute accommodation difficulties. “Saturation point is rapidly being reached everywhere.”

  2. The household linen and bedding problem. Also food and fuel supplies.

  3. So many women are out at work all day.

  4. The smallness of the billeting allowance.

Suggested solution : People feel that there should be more hostels for the evacuees. “No one wants evacuees and no one wants to be pushed into another person's house if bombed out.” Large empty houses, hotels, unoccupied military camps, and emergency hostels should, it is suggested, be adapted for this purpose.

Food : Fears continue that the influx of evacuees will upset the food distribution system. It is hoped that supplies will be adjusted - of unrationed as well as rationed foods.

Some evacuees are finding it difficult to get food, as the local tradesmen are unwilling to supply goods on emergency ration cards.

Banned areas : People feel that the lifting of the ban in the South West should do much towards absorbing the evacuees. At the same time, they ask why the ban was lifted before the evacuees were settled in, as “where competition between holiday visitors and evacuees takes place, evacuees are not welcomed”.

Localised Reactions

A. LONDON : The steadier attitude of Londoners, reported last week, is maintained. The feeling that the attacks are “just something to be endured” is growing, and most people are now “carrying on as usual”. Most people welcomed the recent quiet nights, and the decline in attacks by day; but some feared this might be a lull before “something worse”.

There remain a substantial number who still think the flying bomb is worse than “the old blitz”; and a few who still say people will not stand prolonged bombardment.

There appears to be little difference in people's feelings in severely and moderately bombed areas; if anything, the latter appear to be taking longer to get adjusted.

Evacuation : Criticism of details outweighs approval for the general principle. The main points made are:-

(a) The Government's scheme should have been ready sooner.

(b) In view of the difficulties and failures of last time,

i. Children should have been sent to camps and not private homes;

ii. Steps should have been taken to avoid having to billet mothers with children.

(c) There should be a plan for evacuating old people, “as promised by the Prime Minister”. It is said they cannot find accommodation for themselves.

(d) The homeless should be found accommodation in safe areas before evacuees (whose homes have not been damaged) or holiday-makers.

(e) Travel warrants should be issued to children's escorts who are not parents.

Shelters continue to be widely used - a few remaining in them all the time. The deep shelters are popular; some ask why they are not available in all areas, and why they were not opened earlier.

There is some anxiety because it is said people with tuberculosis are sleeping in shelters with healthy people.

Children remaining in London provide their parents with a problem where schools are closed. Parents get worried as to their whereabouts when the Alert goes.

Post-raid services : Civil Defence workers are widely praised ... “their stock is up 100%”. There is also some praise for the Assistance Board.

Local Authorities are criticised for the delay in repairs to damaged property. It is thought that when people are re-housed, the new promises should always have a shelter. There are complaints of lack of storage facilities for furniture, and of permits being inadequate to replace lost furniture.

More hot drinks at the scene of incidents are asked for. It is said that W.V.S. supplies often run out.

Criticism of the Government for lack of preparedness to deal with the flying bomb continues, as also do doubts about the casualty figures.

The Home Secretary's recent statement to the press has been favourably received, as it was considered “not over-optimistic”.

Miscellaneous : It is thought our planes should not be allowed to fly low over London.

People complain they cannot hear bombs approaching because of the traffic. They suggest the sirens should sound for imminent danger only.

Some think the blackout restrictions are now unnecessary.

B. SOUTH EASTERN DISTRICT : Nerves are said to be steadier, though many women are still described as “jittery”. The main troubles are said to be lack of shelters in rural areas, and tiredness. For lack of sleep, A.A. fire is largely blamed.

Criticism of A.A. fire is considerable. People say the shrapnel does more damage than the bombs, which the A.A. shells never hit; they merely “chase the fighters away”.

Criticism of the Government does not differ from that in London.

C. SOUTHERN REGION : Nervousness is reported to be widespread; though it is rather less in those areas which have had some actual experience of the flying bomb.

In one area, it is complained that the long drawn out alert hides the sound of approaching bombs.

Civil defence workers are praised.

D. EASTERN REGION : In the “danger areas”, there is some nervousness; people are described as shelter-conscious. Elsewhere, Haw Haw stories about new launching sites, to bring so far unaffected places within range, are common.

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 18 passim)

3. The invasion of France

Satisfaction and confidence continue. Although most people do not expect easy advance, there is widespread minority disappointment at our rate of progress (Nine Regions). Comparisons with Russian advances are again made, though some appreciate the contribution our campaigns are making to Russian successes.

The weather is blamed for the hold-up, chiefly because of its effect on our air superiority; it is also thought that lack of “elbow room”, and supply and reinforcement difficulties have hampered us. Once the weather becomes favourable and the other difficulties are overcome, people expect a “big push”. A very few fear the campaign is a stalemate, or that it may turn into slow trench warfare.

Confidence in our leaders, praise for the courage of the men, and admiration for the planning continue.

There have been a few complaints about delay in the notification of casualties; letters from Forces' friends have sometimes provided first news of death or injury.

There is also some complaint of mails (Three Regions), which are thought disappointingly slow in both directions; some troops are said to feel “very bitter”.

The rumour that General Montgomery has been taken prisoner, wounded or killed is this week reported from three Regions.

The people of France : Suspicion continues; the majority appear still to think the French are very lukewarm towards our troops; a few say “we haven't heard much about the Underground Movement in Normandy”. However, some praise the French for their help. It is suggested there should be more publicity for the sufferings of the French people.

News presentation : Satisfaction with news presentation and B.B.C. War Reports continues widespread; though there is slightly less interest, and a few complaints of repetition and padding.

There are increased complaints that too much prominence is being given to the Americans (Seven Regions). Some think they have more war correspondents there than we have, and with better facilities.

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 18 passim)

3a. The next move

Further landings continue to be expected; it is hoped they will lead to the capture of the flying bomb bases.

(1. 2. 3. 5. 12)

4. Russia

Again unbounded admiration; the Red Armies' advance is said to “hypnotise people by its speed”. Hopes are high that the Russians will soon be on German territory in East Prussia, and there is much speculation about what will happen then. Many think the Germans' morale may crack, once there is large-scale fighting on their own soil. A few believe the enemy will resort to some device to bring the war to an end without fighting it out - say turn Communist; others think they will fight hard on their own soil.

A large majority now hope and expect the Russians will reach Berlin first, when “the Germans will be given a taste of their own medicine”.

There is some speculation - much of it uneasy - about Russia's postwar attitude.

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 18 passim)

5. Italy

Satisfaction continues widespread, but a minority are disappointed that progress is not speedier, especially as they had previously thought the Germans were on the verge of collapse.

There continue to be complaints that not enough publicity is being given to this theatre of war.

Saluting of Italian officers : Resentment that our men should have to salute Italian officers is reported from three Regions.

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 18 sixty-four P.D.Rs.)

6. Germany

Increasing hatred of Germany is reported as a result of their use of flying bombs, their murder of Allied prisoners, the massacre in the French village and their crimes against populations in occupied countries generally, and their “devilish booby-traps”.

There is a growing desire for vengeance against the Germans - if not now, then after the war - and for the punishment of all war criminals.

People are very afraid, however, either that we shall be too tender-hearted with them - even trying to stand in the way of Russian and Polish vengeance - or that the criminals may slip through our fingers. There is approval for Lord Vansittart's proposals for dealing with enemy culprits, as outlined in his speech in the Lords (July 13), and for Lord Cranborne's statement that the Government intends to root out the Gestapo.

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 11. 12. 13. 18 fifteen P.D.Rs.)

7. Spain

There is some division of opinion about the allegations that Spain has allowed flying bomb trials to be held on her territory. Some are convinced that she did allow them, but others accept Mr. Eden's statement.

(1. 3. 5. 7. 8. 10)

8. Far East

Interest continues slight.

There is complaint of the sparseness of news from Burma. People feel more prominence should be given to it, considering the conditions under which our men are fighting.

China (Five Regions): Anxiety continues about affairs in China.

(1. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 18 twenty-six P.D.Rs.)



9. Postwar

During the past four weeks widespread discussion has continued - in considerably greater detail than last month - though the good war news and the flying bomb have distracted some people's attention from other topics. The usual minority, too, feel “we should win the war first”; however, a few feel that the good news, and the possibility of the war ending soon, mean that “definite planning” is more urgent than ever.

Confidence and optimism are reported among a very small minority only. Otherwise disquiet, anxiety and “ever-growing” scepticism prevail - “it will be just like the last time; they promised us the moon and we got the depression”. There is doubt both as to the Government's intention and ability to implement promises; White Papers are “scorned”, not because of their recommendations but because “they will never be more than scraps of paper”.

This general view is strengthened by the belief that the Beveridge plan and part of the Uthwatt plan have been scrapped, and that there is as yet nothing “tangible” to show. Some suspect big business and other vested interests are “sabotaging schemes”.

On the subject of paying for the schemes, opinion is again divided. Some do not know where the money is to come from. Others say if we can find money for total war, we can find money for the peace.

“A sure steady job and a decent house at a rent we can afford to pay” are the two things for which people hope most; though they have not dwarfed discussion of other postwar topics to the same extent as last month.

Comment on these and other specific postwar subjects has been on the following lines:

(a) Housing (All Regions). There is general realisation of the immense problem of providing enough for everyone, coupled with the fear it will not be adequately tackled. People are dismayed at the apparent lack of policy, and think present proposals totally inadequate. Some think a building programme should be begun at once, especially as there is said to be unemployment already in the building industry. There is some feeling that local authorities would be getting on with things if they were not being hampered by the Government.

It is thought that prices of building materials, and rents, will have to be controlled; and speculators closely watched.

Prefabricated houses (Twelve Regions): Discussion about these “undesirable but necessary houses” continues. It is thought that few people look forward to having one, but that a growing number accept them as inevitable temporary expedients. Concern continues, in the Northern, North Eastern, North Western Regions, Wales and Scotland as to their suitability for the local climate.

It is again asked that there should be more opportunity of seeing specimens, at least in films.

Criticism of cost (in view of the short life), appearance, and unsuitability for large families continues; also approval of the fittings and labour-saving devices.

Rural housing (Six Regions): Country people continue anxious for more town amenities, especially mains water supplies, electricity, and drainage.

(b) Employment (All Regions). In former “special areas” and other heavy industrial districts the question “Will there be work for us after the war?” dominates all thinking about postwar conditions. Workers in ship building and repairing, and heavy engineering say “If they can't find work for us now, how ever will they be able to afterwards?” But, for the first time among miners in the Northern Region, there are reports of some belief that prospects of postwar jobs are more satisfactory.

Among people outside these particular industries, fears of unemployment and of “slump-boom” conditions, such as prevailed after the last war, are second only to housing worries.

The prospects of ex-Servicemen and women are thought particularly gloomy; people want all possible help given to them, especially the young ones whose careers and training have been interrupted. It is said that disabled Servicemen are already experiencing difficulty in getting work.

The Government White Paper on Employment Policy (dealt with in our Reports June 29 and July 6) continues to arouse “not a ripple of excitement”, though minority approval is reported. In general, it is thought too vague and not really to tackle the problem. Some do not think the proposals will be carried out. (See also “Location of industry”.)

(c) Government controls (Eleven Regions): Generally speaking, business men want a free hand as soon as possible, whereas other people are more divided in their views. Many, including some employers, are agreed there will have to be some degree of control, at least to begin with.

It is said that forecasts of the continuance of rationing and other personal restrictions for a long time after the war fill people with dismay.

(d) Town and country planning (Ten Regions): Some interest is reported, particularly in bombed towns; people want to know about rebuilding plans and what assistance the Government proposes to give.

The Government proposals for the control of land, and the rejection of the Uthwatt proposals for balancing compensation and betterment (see our Reports July 6 and 13) continue to cause dissatisfaction and disappointment. It is felt that landowners are “winning the day”, that speculation will not now be eliminated, and that the price of houses and the speed with which they are erected will be adversely affected. Local authorities are said to feel they will not now get sufficient backing, and to be critical of the proposed plans for requisitioning land.

(e) The Beveridge plan and social security (Ten Regions): Discussion of the Beveridge plan persists and, although it is no longer thought that it will be implemented, the plan is wanted as much as ever.

People ask when the “counterplan” is to be published. They want provision for social security and for old age, without the “stigma” of having to apply to the P.A.C.

(f) Export trade (Six Regions): There is considerable fear, particularly among employers, that we shall be ousted from possible markets by the U.S.A. Some industrialists in the Midlands are very resentful “that the U.S.A. are already sending their salesmen abroad to collect postwar orders”. At the same time employers are very worried as to how high wages are to be maintained, if we have to compete with countries where standards are lower. Some industrialists want to be allowed to go beyond the planning stage, in order to be ready when the war ends; they think repairs and replacements should start right away.

A few people are optimistic and think the reconstruction of Europe will provide us with a considerable market for many years.

(g) Small traders v. combines (Six Regions): Increased comment. Both the general public and the “small men” want safeguards for small traders, who, it is thought, are being squeezed out by combines and multiple stores. Alleged Ministry of Health advice to local authorities to employ big contractors on reconstruction plans, as local contractors “might not be allowed the extra labour needed”, has aroused criticism of the Government for encouraging the squeezing-out process (South Western Region). In the north of Scotland, too, there is much bitterness because the S.C.W.S. is buying up businesses - “How can our boys coming back get a chance of setting up business for themselves?”

(h) Location of industry (Four Regions): In the Northern Region, and in Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, great importance is attached to the establishment of new light industries locally, particularly in districts hitherto dependent on heavy industry. At the same time it is feared that “big business” in the South will persuade the Government to neglect these areas. In the Northern Region and Wales there is disappointment that the White Paper on Employment Policy does not allow for compulsion in this matter, and that transfer of labour is to continue. In Merthyr Tydfil, for instance, it is felt “there must be no more breaking up of home life at the end of this war”; and the establishment of new industries locally is thought to be the only alternative. Workers in new war factories in the south of Scotland react very favourably to the White Paper suggestion that these factories shall remain.

(i) Agriculture (Four Regions): Farmers continue pessimistic about their postwar prospects, and want the Government to announce a long-term policy. Some fear a continuance and possible extension of Government control; others think some form of control offers the only solution to their problems. In one Region some farmers are said to be contemplating leaving agriculture “while the going is good and prices high”, - fearing to lose what they have gained during the war.

Land Girls are said to be anxious about their future prospects.

(j) Demobilisation (Two Regions): The Government's plans are thought “too indecisive”, and a definite statement is wanted.

(k) Emigration (Two Regions): Some young people are said to be looking to the Dominions and Colonies for future careers because they feel it would be better to go to countries where, they believe, good housing and prospects already exist.

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13)

9a. Education Bill

During the past four weeks interest has again been limited to “specialist” circles.

Approval is still tempered by doubts as to where the teachers will come from. It is feared that the proposed shortened period of training will lower standards, whereas better teachers are essential. Some feel a start should be made at once, so that teachers will be ready.

It is also felt that school buildings will be inadequate; plans should be made now, so that building can begin immediately the war ends.

(1. 3. 4. 5. 7. 8. 9. 10)

9b. National Health Scheme

During the past four weeks interest has remained limited. Some continue to approve the scheme; they fear the medical profession will stand in its way. Others are sceptical and fear it will amount to nothing, particularly since “retention of the dual system of private enterprise and State service may perpetuate one treatment for the rich and another for the poor”.

Voluntary Hospitals : Some interest in their future continues (Four Regions).

(1. 3. 4. 7. 8. 9. 11. 12)

10. Housing and accommodation

During the past four weeks complaints about the housing situation have continued as widespread as ever, and along the familiar lines; but there is more disquiet and impatience than last month. The renewed bombing and evacuation are said to have accentuated the problem in most areas; in some it is described as reaching “nightmare” proportions.

Discussion has, as usual, centred chiefly round:

(a) Shortage of all types of accommodation (Twelve Regions). There is a great increase in complaints that overcrowding is made worse by the military authorities refusing to de-requisition property which “has not been used for months” (Five Regions). It is also said that private houses are taken for Government offices when empty offices or shops could be used. People complain, too, of private houses remaining unoccupied, of the retention of “escape accommodation”, and of rooms over shops being left empty; they feel that such accommodation should be made available, to case the situation.

Again it is said that the shortage is particularly difficult for people with children; wives of Servicemen; those expecting a baby - “no room for mother when baby arrives and no hopes of anything”; young married couples, forced to live with parents - “homes shared are usually broken up”; and bombed out people.

People think the Government should “get on with the job”. In London it is suggested that a limited number of Portal houses or army huts should be erected to house those who are homeless as a result of the bombing - some of whom are “living and sleeping in Andersons”.

(b) High rents and prices (Ten Regions). Comment is less widespread this month, though no less indignant. Houses for sale, especially those with vacant possession, furnished rooms, and flats are all mentioned as realising “absurd amounts”. Price control is urged, particularly of houses, and there is said to be dissatisfaction with the “procrastination” of the Government - “it can't be a bigger problem than the conscription of millions of men”.

It is thought there will be a storm of protest if returning Servicemen are asked to pay present prices.

(c) Repair difficulties and delays (Five Regions). Comment about the deterioration of property, owing to the “impossibility” of getting repairs done or the materials to do them, continues. There is some fear that good property will deteriorate into slums if allowed to become in much worse condition. In London, difficulties have been accentuated by the raids; landlords are said to be “uncooperative about superficial raid damage repairs”.

See also Constant Topics No. 1.

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12)

11. Clothing

The announcement that the clothes ration for the next period will be 24 coupons : First reported reactions are disappointment that there is to be no increase, mixed with resignation; though a few are pleased with the allocation. Particular disappointment is expressed at there being no special allocation for household replacements. Many had wanted this; some had hoped for it.

Some people are doubtful as to whether the last lot of coupons in the present book become usable with the new book in August or lapse altogether; they say that press and radio announcements have not made this clear.

During the past four weeks clothing and coupon complaints have been reported on about the same scale as last month.

The main differences appear to be slightly increased comment about: (a) Insufficient coupons for clothing children, older children especially. (b) Poor quality of children's shoes. (c) Difficulties, delays and poor quality of footwear repairs. (d) Shortage of shoes, both for adults and children. (e) Shortage and high price of bedding and household linen. (f) Too high value of various items of clothing.

The following is a complete summary of clothing comments:

Insufficient coupons (All Regions) for:

(a) General clothing replacements (All Regions, several every week). Familiar complaints that stocks of clothing are now completely worn out and cannot be replenished on the present allowance.

People are now finding it “increasingly difficult to keep themselves even respectable”. Office workers, who consider they must maintain a certain standard of dress, complain that they are in a worse position than many factory hands who are on light work and whose “industrial ten” more than provide for overalls. Men particularly grumble about the difficulty of mustering enough coupons for a suit. People are already wondering how they are going to get enough warm underclothing for next winter.

Shortage of coupons is said to be the cause of:

  1. Trafficking in coupons (Five Regions). £1 a page is described in Scotland as “a common figure”. Some traffic in the first page of the new book is already reported. Shopkeepers are “cynically amused at the number of industrial coupons presented for fashionable frocks by well-to-do customers”.

  2. Selling without coupons (Three Regions), or for less than the correct amount.

  3. Parents using their children's coupons for themselves (One Region). People with no children consider themselves at a disadvantage.

  4. Increased pilfering in shops (One Region).

(b) Household replacements (Eleven Regions - several every week). The same complaints and the same wish for a special coupon allowance for household replacements ... “The burden always falls on the housewife”.

A particular grouse among poorer people is that cheap curtain material is on coupons while the more expensive is not.

(c) Children (Ten Regions - several more than once). Keeping children clothed, and especially shod, is “one of women's biggest problems”. Older children are said to be the greatest difficulty. Parents of children entering new schools in the autumn term are faced with “the almost impossible task” of providing uniform.

(d) Workers (Seven Regions), particularly those in specially arduous or dirty jobs. Two particular categories mentioned are “blast furnacemen, whose clothing gets burnt”, and factory girls working in great heat whose underclothes rot with sweat. Agricultural workers complain that owing to lack of coupons they are unable to buy boots.

Footwear (Eleven Regions)

  1. Poor quality (Ten Regions, some every week)

    1. Children's (Nine Regions). Increasing complaints of the poor quality of children's shoes ... many parents' biggest problem. There are references to soles “cracking in the first few days” ... “shoes worn out in 14 days” ... “a boy having gone through five pairs of shoes in the last year”, etc. etc. People say that “even if they had the money they could not keep pace with the coupons”; it is thought that children's shoes should have a lower coupon value, or come off coupons altogether, as they wear so badly. Another suggestion is wooden-soled shoes for children, or clogs.

    2. Adults' (Five Regions). Complaints on almost identical lines are made about adults' shoes.

  2. Repairs (Nine Regions, some every week).

    1. Difficulty of getting repairs accepted and long delay (Nine Regions). The delay is said to be specially hard on poorer families where children rarely have more than 2 pairs and there is a continual struggle to keep them at school. The problem is said to be aggravated by the shortage of leather, which means that instead of the shoes being repaired at home overnight they have to wait weeks at the menders.

    2. Poor quality of repairs (Six Regions).

  3. Shortage (Seven Regions), especially of children's footwear (Seven Regions), and light summer shoes for women and children.

Household linen (Ten Regions).

  1. Shortage (Nine Regions), particularly of reasonably priced sheets. Some people, unable to afford 5 gns a pair, are said to have been trying to buy sheets for two years. One report refers to a retailer with 100 names on his waiting list - 50 of them pregnant women - his allocation being 12 sheets. Arrival of evacuees is said to add to the problem, and people with evacuees and billetees complain that priority for expectant mothers is very unfair as it means that these sometimes get the whole allocation.

  2. High price (Five Regions).

Poor quality of clothing (Nine Regions), particularly corsets and stockings; also men's socks, which are considered too short. Apart from stockings, criticisms of Utility wear are mostly unspecific.

High price of clothing (Seven Regions), particularly women's hats. The high price of coupon-free furnishing fabrics is also regretted.

Too high coupon values (Six Regions), particularly of footwear - children's especially; men's suits; socks, stockings, mackintoshes and cloth by the yard. The “jump” in the coupon value of growing boys' garments, shoes especially, is said to be a great problem.

Laundries and cleaners (Four Regions), particularly delays, poor standard of work and difficulty in getting things accepted.

Elastic shortage (Four Regions). People ask that supplies be regulated to eliminate “the present under-the-counter trade”.

Shortage of large sizes for women (Three Regions).

See also Constant Topics, Nos. 2. 5. 9. 19.

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13)

11a. Furniture and perambulators

During the past four weeks there have been increasing references to the high price and shortage of furniture (Four and Three Regions respectively). Second-hand prices in particular are considered “an outrageous ramp”, and control without delay is demanded.

There is praise of Utility furniture , but not of its upholstery.

The shortage, high price and poor quality of perambulators are criticised (Two Regions). Utility prams are said to be of poor quality, considering the price, “very soon falling to pieces”.

(1. 5. 6. 10. 11. 12)

11b. Combs

During the past four weeks many people have complained that they cannot buy combs. Some say that the shortage has been worse since the price was controlled and that, though legitimate traders cannot got them, “market stall-holders, who sell above the controlled prices, manage to get any number”.

See also Constant Topics, No. 23.

(1. 4. 5. 6. 10. 12)

11c. Teats for babies' bottles

During the past four weeks there have been several reports of these being in short supply or unobtainable. As a result, very young infants are having to be spoon-fed.

One report refers to a certain locality having had only two dozen during the past two months, instead of the two gross which would have been the normal supply, and it is urged that “something should be done quickly”.

(1. 3. 4. 7. 10. 24)

12. Industry

During the past four weeks there has again been reference to a remarkable absence of disputes and grouses in industry since the Normandy invasion. People feel that workers on the whole are getting on with the job, and workers themselves talk of their eagerness: “If they want me to work 7 b ... days a week”, said a dicker, “I'll b ... well do it”.

Comment has, however, continued - particularly among workers - about:

Reduced production (Eight Regions): This is usually attributed to the abundance of completed war material. Some factories are said to be on postwar work already, and others about to change over to it.

Talk is again of:

  1. Workers in factories and shipyards with little or nothing to do (Eight Regions). One firm is alleged to be paying people to sign on morning and afternoon, and sending them home.

  2. The closing down (Six Regions) of war factories - particularly aircraft, of steel works and furnaces, and of shipyards on Tyneside, all involving discharge or transfer of workers. Rumours of further closings down are fairly widespread.

  3. The reduction or stoppage of overtime (Four Regions). (See Wages, Section 12a)

  4. Unemployment (Three Regions). Workers fail to see how postwar unemployment can be avoided “when it exists to-day in face of the vast output required by war demands”. To quote from Postal Censorship: “There is over 400 on the dole at R ... now, so what is it going to be like later on?”

Absenteeism and bad time-keeping (Five Regions), which in the Midland and North Western. Regions are believed to be on the increase. Variously thought responsible are P.A.Y.E., poor transport facilities, and - for girls - domestic and shopping difficulties as well.

“The heavy fining of a quarry worker (North Midland Region) for bad time-keeping has caused widespread comment in the industry. It is thought that the imposition of any further sentences of this nature is likely to cause a crisis among the workers.”

Regulation IAA (Three Regions): Workers still dislike it, and fear it may he used in peacetime. Some say “the regulation is farcical - it means no one can discuss grievances or strike action outside a Trade Union meeting”.

Strikes (Three Regions): People are dead against strikes, and the dockers' strike in Scotland “came in for hard words”. Some workers, however, consider “strikes are the only weapon to protect them from exploitation by unscrupulous employers, and to enforce just demands”.

See also Constant Topics, Nos. 14. 15. 16.

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 17)

12a. Wages

During the past four weeks , comment has been about:

Reduced earnings (Five Regions), which are worrying workers - some cannot now meet their commitments.

Complaints are of the alleged:

  1. Reduction or discontinuance of overtime. Many workers - time-craftsmen, labourers, clerks, storekeepers, and some shipyard workers are specified - “only earned a reasonable figure by working long hours”. “Even the management admit that these men need the supplementation of overtime if they are to keep their families in adequate comfort.”

  2. Transfer to other jobs where this means a reduction in wages. Particular concern is reported at the redirection of certain cotton operatives back to the mills.

  3. Counteracting by one large bus company (Northern Region) of the recent increase in bus drivers' wages, “by reducing the amount of overtime for the top grade, and thus the highest paid drivers”.

Disparity of pay (Five Regions) between:

  1. Skilled and unskilled workers.

  2. Salaried workers and wage earners.

  3. Members of the Forces and industrial workers. The “hard lot” of Servicemen's wives is compared with the high wages earned by women and girls in munitions.

High wages (Five Regions) paid to munition workers, particularly young people. Some feel that those high wages are causing a rise in prices, which penalises those with fixed incomes.

Low wages (Five Regions) of some workers; specified are agricultural workers “forced to live away from home”, and railway workers.

Equal pay for equal work (Four Regions) which is again advocated by some women. In particular, women “in the lower grades are very bitter at the Engineering Award of 4/- a week to all adult male workers”.

On the other hand, in one area women are said to “be paid £6 per week for painting stars on U.S. army wagons while their husbands, doing hard manual labour, draw well under £4”.

(1. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 12)

12b. Man-power

During the past four weeks there has again been little comment. Allegations continue of:

(a) Shortage of labour (Seven Regions). Specified are shop assistants, business personnel, laundry workers, workers in tailoring and in some industries. Employers suffering from understaffing are very bitter about tales of idle time in other industries. There is also some feeling that small traders are suffering at the expense of large concerns.

There is also concern at the alleged call-up of key men - both those in the 35-40 age group and apprentices on reaching 18 years: “In many garages, these lads can ill be spared”.

(b) Evasion of the call-up (Four Regions). People continue to complain that (i) Some women are “getting away with it somehow and remain idle”; (ii) Young men are unnecessarily retained in industry, forestry, etc. Relatives of men in the Forces are particularly critical and feel “some families have all their members serving, and others none”.

(1. 3. 4. 5. 7. 8. 10. 11)

13. Mining

People are concerned about news of the falling output of coal.

While the strike of colliery craftsmen has been taken “very quietly” in the North Western Region, the reappearance of strikes is deplored elsewhere.

During the past four weeks comment has been desultory and on familiar lines. Prior to the recent strikes people were glad that the mining industry seemed to “have settled down”; even so, there was some belief that miners were not attending so well even at the best pits.

Suggested reasons for absenteeism are that “the recent rise in wages coincided with the introduction of P.A.Y.E”., and that in pits without a canteen, “the miners' diet is inadequate for a hard day's work”.

The pit ballot scheme (Six Regions, twelve last month): Comment is much less. Criticism is again of (a) the waste of training of boys who have been in pre-Service units; (b) the failure to bring ex-miners in the Services back to the mines; (c) the impossibility of the boys becoming effective producers before the war ends.

Accommodation for Bevin boys (Five Regions): Difficulties of finding lodgings are reported in the North Eastern Region, and in Portobello, Scotland. In the latter a case is quoted of three men using one bed: “One night shift, two day shift”.

The new wage structure (Four Regions): Miners continue to complain that “it has done little more than breed jealousies”; “there are innumerable anomalies and more come to light daily”. Particularly mentioned as dissatisfied are colliery mechanics and “some workers classed as unskilled and so not entitled to an increase”.

Outcrop coal (Two Regions): Grumbling continues at the “fabulous” working costs per ton. People in Stanley, North Eastern Region, have refused point blank to subscribe for National Savings “when they see money wasted like this”.

See also Constant Topics, Nos. 8, 17.

(l. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 18)

13a. Domestic fuel

The renewed advice to buy fuel in summer to stock up coal against the coming winter has been bitterly received. People had already been complaining for some time past that they could not obtain sufficient coal for present needs, let alone for stocking up. The news of falling coal production has increased anxiety about supplies for next winter.

During the past four weeks there has also been talk of the inadequacy of the coal allowance (Four Regions) for (a) people with no other means of heating and cooking, and (b) people in the Northern Region, the Derbyshire Peak District and Scotland.

(1. 2. 3. 5. 6. 8. 9. 10. 11)

14. Food

Bacon ration (Four Regions): The announcement of an increase has given pleasure, particularly to those who have to take packed meals. It is, however, thought the increase has come at the wrong time of year.

Sugar for jam (Four Regions): Again appreciation of the forthcoming extra issue, and regret it will be released too late to make use of soft fruit. Some people wonder if they can get it in advance.

Milk (Three Regions): The cut continues to arouse complaint, and people ask why it was necessary. Requests are again reported that household milk should be released.

During the past four weeks satisfaction with the food situation has continued widespread. People consider that we are very well fed in the fifth year of war.

There have, however, been complaints about:

  1. Fruit and tomato shortages (Twelve Regions).

  2. Meat (Ten Regions), particularly the prevalence of pork during the warm weather; the shortage of beef and the poor quality of meat other than pork are also complained of.

  3. The smallness of the cheese ration (Ten Regions), especially for people who have to take packed meals. The prospect of an increase continues to give pleasure (Two Regions).

  4. The shortage of fish (Eight Regions), especially in rural areas. Supplies are, however, said to be better.

  5. Vegetables (Eight Regions). The high price of green vegetables, particularly lettuce. The maximum price is said to be charged even when the vegetables are of inferior quality. A shortage of spring vegetables and new potatoes is also reported in some areas.

  6. Dried fruit shortage (Seven Regions), though complaints have declined somewhat. The high pointing is commented on.

  7. Monotony of diet (Five Regions).

  8. Beer shortage (Six Regions). In the North Midland Region the position is said to be worsening.

  9. Canteens (Four Regions). The waste of food in canteens due to bad cooking; housewives think it would be better if they were given the extra rations instead. On the other hand, people who feed regularly in canteens are thought to have an advantage.

  10. The “inadequate” fat ration (Four Regions). Housewives would like more to enable them to make cakes.

  11. Difficulties of small families and people living alone (Four Regions).

  12. Sweets and chocolates (Four Regions), both the smallness of the ration, especially for children, and shortage.

In the Northern Region there is disquiet because people in rural areas are having to spend their personal points in the towns, and the local shopkeepers will, it is feared, in the forthcoming months receive constantly dwindling supplies.

See also Constant Topics Nos, 3. 6. 7. 13. 18. 21. 22. 24.

(1. 2, 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13)

14a. Shopping difficulties

During the past four weeks complaints have continued on familiar lines, chiefly about;

  1. Queuing (Six Regions), especially for fruit and tomatoes. Workers who cannot queue are unable to get any. There is also complaint that queues for specific items waste the time of people wishing to shop but not wanting the specific items. It is thought that if only retailers would take the trouble to arrange a rota for distribution of commodities in short supply, queues would be unnecessary.

  2. Under-the-counter and conditional sales (Seven Regions), especially of fruit and tomatoes. In addition working women complain they have to wait for fish while telephone orders are attended to.

  3. Early and lunch-hour closing (Six Regions). Working girls in the Midland Region complain that shoe shops often close between 1 and 2 p.m., and that quotas of shoes are sold out by Saturday afternoon.

See also Constant Topics Nos. 3. 6.

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12)

15. P.A.Y.E.

During the past four weeks comment has continued on familiar lines; some general approval of the scheme being qualified by “grumbles” that (a) people are still puzzled and do not understand it - particularly when there are fluctuations in weekly deductions, and that (b) more tax is now paid than was previously done.

Other comment has been of the effects of P.A.Y.E. on:

  1. Workers' attitude (Nine Regions). It is alleged to cause:

    1. Refusal to work overtime or at weekends (Six Regions). Some farm workers are said instead to take up casual work with other employers so that they evade tax.

    2. Absenteeism (Five Regions), particularly with the intention of obtaining rebates of tax already paid (Three Regions).

    3. Low production (Three Regions), since some workers deliberately reduce their earnings.

  2. Savings (Three Regions). Some are inclined to think their taxes sufficient contribution.

  3. Volunteering for farm work (Two Regions), since some believe they will have to pay tax on their earnings.

Income tax allowances : Some think these insufficient (Two Regions).

(1. 2. 3. 4. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 12)

16. Holidays

Workers are looking forward to their holidays and many feel that additional transport should be conceded, particularly in those districts where local holidays are not staggered and people are obliged to take them in the same week. While some people are spending their holidays at home because travelling is so difficult, others, in spite of the discomfort, are determined to get away if possible for a change of air and scene.

The lifting of the ban on certain coastal areas has been welcomed, though there is criticism of the Government for lifting it the day evacuated children began to arrive ... “People naturally now prefer paying guests”. Some think the ban should have been lifted for evacuees only.

(2. 3. 4. 5. 7. 10. 11. 12. 18 seven P.D.Rs.)

17. Transport

During the past four weeks transport difficulties have again been reported (Ten Regions), though people are “making the best of a difficult business”. Discussion of the rail cuts has to a large extent died down, the restrictions being generally accepted as inevitable. Comment has been chiefly of:

  1. Inadequate road transport (Ten Regions), particularly in rural areas (Seven Regions).

  2. Overcrowding of buses and trams (Seven Regions), particularly at rush hours, partly due to holiday makers, shoppers, and unnecessary travel by schoolchildren. War workers ask for priority travel, and village shoppers complain they cannot get into town because the buses are packed with holiday makers. It is suggested that more transport should be provided in districts where an influx of evacuees has made the situation worse.

  3. Lack of late evening services (Five Regions). People feel that at any rate during the summer months the curfew might be later.

  4. Inadequate Sunday transport (Three Regions), for churchgoers and Sunday workers.

  5. Queues (Three Regions).

  6. Difficulty of boarding buses at intermediate stops (Two Regions), chiefly in rural areas, the buses being filled to capacity at the beginning of the journey.

  7. Failure of buses to stop (Three Regions).

  8. Incivility of employees (Two Regions).

Rail priorities are asked for members of the Forces travelling on embarkation leave; for wounded men from Normandy; and for business and other essential travel (One Region each). In the Eastern Region trains are said to be full of Americans going on leave, and season ticket holders are unable to find seats.

Satisfaction : In London, some think that transport, considering the present difficulties, is good, and employees are praised for their willingness to work in the flying bomb raids.

In some areas of the Southern Region there is appreciation for improved rural services, and in Birkenhead it is felt that a great need has been supplied by the recent arrangement for transport facilities for Servicemen and women during the night.

See also Constant Topics No. 4.

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12)

17a. Petrol

During the past four weeks comment, though less, has again been about:

  1. The allocation of petrol (Three Regions). Complaints of unfair distribution continue ... “Some people seem able to drive between their place of business and home several times a day, while others cannot get a reasonable supply for essential work”; and ... “every American soldier seems to have his jeep”. Some wonder whether the basic ration could be restored in view of the restricted transport services. A few believe “there is more petrol in the country than can be used”.

  2. Misuse and waste of petrol (Three Regions) by farmers, the N.F.S and C.D.; and by Government and local officials, particularly for lunch-time journeys. There is also talk of petrol wasted on joy-riding, going to race meetings, and for personal convenience ... “A private car is alleged to be used by the owner's friends as a taxi and can be seen without fail every evening outside a certain pub”.

See also Constant Topics No. 12.

(1. 3. 4. 5. 7. 9. 18 two P.D.Rs.)

18. Domestic help

During the past four weeks complaints of hardship and strain caused by the shortage of domestic help have increased. Particular mention is made of the plight of:

  1. Households where there is sickness (Four Regions).

  2. Old people (Four Regions).

  3. Expectant mothers (Three Regions), whose difficulties are said to be accentuated by the lack of maternity home facilities.

  4. Hospitals and other medical institutions (Three Regions) - “hospital matrons say they want full-timers, willing to take orders, not middle-class part-time workers”.

  5. Mothers with young children (Two Regions).

  6. Farmers' wives, doctors' households, and war-time nurseries (One Region each).

Suggestions are (a). that redundant factory workers might be drafted to essential domestic work; and (b) that a standard wage should be fixed.

A few wonder what will happen to domestic wages after the war, and whether the “ordinary” person will be able to afford help.

See also Constant Topics No. 11.

(1. 3. 4. 5. 7. 9. 10. 11. 12)

19. Health

During the past four weeks complaints of tiredness, war weariness and general ill health - though again in less volume - have continued (Nine Regions). Causes held responsible are again:

  1. Overwork (Six Regions). “It is impossible to keep the pressure up year after year.”

  2. War-time diet (Three Regions). Stomach and skin troubles are again attributed to food.

  3. Working conditions , particularly as a result of blackout and consequent bad ventilation (Northern Region).

Other comment has been of:

Venereal disease (Four Regions): Some concern at its high incidence is reported, and increased publicity urged.

The shortage of doctors (Three Regions): It is complained that panel patients are the first to suffer.

See also Constant Topics No. 10.

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12)

20. Service pay, pensions and allowances

During the past four weeks complaints of the “niggardly” treatment of the Services in the matter of pay, pensions and dependants' allowances have continued. Increases in pay and allowances continue to be criticised as insufficient (Four Regions).

Complaints have been chiefly of:

  1. The treatment of Servicemen in the matter of pensions (Five Regions). It continues to be urged that men taken into the Services as A.1. should receive a pension in every case where discharged as unfit. Decision of Pensions Tribunals are thought sometimes to be very harsh.

  2. The low pay of our troops (Three Regions) - particularly in comparison with that of Dominion troops.

  3. Allowances for widows and children of men killed being less than they are when men are serving (Two Regions).

(1. 2. 3. 9. 10. 12)

21. Old age pensions

During the past four weeks complaints have continued of the inadequacy of old age pensions - particularly in view of the rise in the cost of living (Six Regions). Pensioners are thought not to be getting “a straight deal”, and the Government to be unnecessarily parsimonious.

Raising the basic rate continues to be urged (Four Regions) as the best solution. “Needs tests” of any kind, it is thought should be abolished.

There is again some criticism that when a pensioner works the pension is liable to taxation.

(1. 2. 3. 7. 8. 9. 10)

23. Home Guard, Civil Defence and Fire Guard

During the past four weeks there have once again been familiar complaints, on the grounds that duties and parades are tiring, prejudicial to work, excessive and - above all - entirely unnecessary in many cases.

Home Guard (Seven Regions): There appears to be an increase in the opinion that Home Guard duties are now less important than they were and could be greatly reduced, if not entirely abolished. People feel that now “things are going so well in France”, drills and exercises are a waste of time for those who are already fully trained. Men are said to be fed up with doing duties which they consider unnecessary and futile, and in the North West it is said that parades are falling off, and the Home Guard beginning to disband itself. Home Guard duties are regarded as particularly irksome and unprofitable for farmers, farm workers and other rural dwellers, “now that the busy season on the land has arrived”. Home Guards in the South Eastern District are said to resent so many exercises when, owing to flying bombs, they are “engaged on the real thing”.

There are further reports of the disappointment of Home Guards who had hoped for a chance to show their worth in real action when the second front started. Some are said to wish they might go to France as part of “the army of occupation” (sic).

Two Regional reports however, suggest that the Home Guard is surprisingly keen considering how long its members have been training with no excitement to spur them on.

Civil Defence and Fire Guard duties (Five Regions): People in the North and in remoter areas continue to look on the Fire Guard and, to a lesser extent, Civil Defence Services as unnecessary and a waste of time, money and energy. The fact that Morrison shelters are being collected for the South confirms this attitude. There is, however, less reported comment on these lines than last month, though in the Northern Region grumbling about firewatching - and particularly daylight firewatching - seems, if anything, to have increased. Some people in the North think that full time Civil Defence personnel should change places with those in districts where flying bombs are falling.

The Civil Defence Services in London and the South East have been warmly praised for the way in which they have dealt with flying bomb incidents.

(1. 2. 3. 5. 6. 8. 10. 12)

24. Italian and German prisoners of war

Italian : During the past four weeks there have been comments that Italian prisoners do not work hard enough, and are given too much transport (Four Regions). In the Eastern Region, it is said that Italian prisoners were provided with bicycles, while land girls cannot get them even when needed for their work, no other transport being available.

There has also been criticism that the prisoners are allowed to roam at will in the evenings (Three Regions); the behaviour of some “silly girls” with these men is deplored.

German : During the past two weeks , resentment has been reported that German prisoners should travel in comfort, while our men and ordinary passengers have to stand in overcrowded trains (Two Regions). It is thought they receive too much consideration in railway coaches and hospitals, and their good treatment is cited as an example of our softness.

(1. 2. 3. 4. 6. 7. 9. 10. 11. 12)

25. Agriculture

During the past four weeks comment has been less and has been chiefly about:

Labour (Seven Regions): Farmers are very anxious about the prospects for getting in the harvest in view of the labour shortage and the poor response to the appeal for volunteers. It is thought that some workers who only get a week's holiday like to spend it with their families on their own allotments, or doing the many necessary repair jobs at home. More publicity about holiday camp arrangements is asked for, and it is also suggested that the provision of more hostels might encourage whole families to help. Some think the Government should “take the bull by the horns” and enforce labour, especially from shirkers hiding from National Service; also that students should be required to help. On the other hand, it is reported that Sunderland people are disappointed no work on the land is available in the North Riding until the latter part of the summer.

Farmers are said to be pleased with the help given by children.

Weather and the harvest (Six Regions): Early in the month much anxiety about the effect of the drought on the crops was reported, and farmers are thankful that the much-needed rain has come in time for grain and other crops - though mostly too late for the hay. Complaints of very light hay crops continue, and some farmers fear the milk yield will be affected later on through scarcity of winter fodder. Farmers, in some areas, are worried about getting their hay in, in view of the recent incessant rain. Some say it has ruined their crop.

Food and Drugs (Milk and Dairies) Bill (Five Regions): While the scheme is welcomed by some, disapproval of Mr. Hudson's “autocratic” methods is again reported. Opposition to the scheme is mainly based on “dislike of increased bureaucratic control”.

War Agricultural Executive Committees (Three Regions): Complaints are made, from one Region each, that Committees have power to evict people from their cottages and can thus turn out old age pensioners from their homes; that they obtain too many exemptions for undeserving people and that money is wastefully expended. They are also felt not always to be impartial in their dealings with farmers, and while agreeing that inefficiency should not be tolerated in war-time, people feel that ejected farmers should have a right of appeal and that the Ministry of Agriculture through the W.A.E.C. should not be both judge and jury.

Wages (Three Regions): Some farm workers are said to be demanding an increase in wages and say they could earn double the money in half the time in industry, but farmers maintain they cannot meet further increases as “the earth itself needs a share of their present profits to meet future needs”. It is also said that the forcing up of wages owing to the difficulty of obtaining labour makes the small farmer worse off than the paid hand.

Potatoes (Two Regions): New potatoes are said to have been spoilt by frost in some areas, and some farmers whose crops had suffered felt that the drop in price should have been delayed for two weeks.

Women's Land Army (One Region): Members are said to be dissatisfied because, if ill, they have to pay for hospital treatment; they are not allowed to use N.A.A.F.I. canteens, and some farmers are not “playing the game” about their wages.

(1. 2. 3. 4. 6. 7. 8. 10. 11. 12)

26. Water supply

During the past four weeks discussion about water supplies in rural areas has continued. In spite of recent rains the water situation still causes anxiety in some areas, though in others the rain came just in time. “Caustic comments” are reported from the Eastern Region, comparing the rural water supply in Suffolk with that of American camps in the neighbourhood.

Country people continue to press for a piped supply, and to criticise some local authorities for their shortcomings.

(1. 3. 4. 7. 12)


(Covering period from 20th June to 18th July, 1944)

All topics arising for the first time are included in the main Weekly Reports. The following have lost their novelty, while still retaining their importance for large sections of the public. They are arranged according to the frequency with which they have been reported.

No subject has been included to which fewer than nine references have been made during the past month.

1. Housing difficulties

(a) Shortage of accommodation

29 June Regions 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 9. 10.
6 July Regions 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12.
13 July Regions 1. 2. 3. 5. 6. 7. 9. 10. 11. 12.
20 July Regions l.2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 9. 10. 11. 12.

(b) High rents and prices

29 June Regions 1. 2. 3. 4. 7. 9.
6 July Regions 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 9. 11.
13 July Regions 1. 2. 7. 9.
20 July Regions 1. 2. 3. 6. 7. 10.

(c) Repair difficulties

29 June Regions 1. 5. 9.
6 July Regions 8. 9.
13 July Regions 1. 6. 12.
20 July Regions 5.

2. Inadequacy of clothing coupons for :

(a) General

29 June Regions 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 9. 10.
6 July Regions 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 7. 9. 10. 11. 12.
13 July Regions 1. 2. 3. 5. 9. 10. 11. 12.
20 July Regions 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 8. 9. 11. 13.

(b) Renewing household goods

29 June Regions 1. 2. 5. 6. 9. 10. 12.
6 July Regions 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 9. 10. 11. 12.
13 July Regions 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 9. 10.
20 July Regions 1. 2. 3. 6. 8. 9. 10.

(c) Children

29 June Regions 1. 3. 4. 5. 7. 9. 10. 11.
6 July Regions 1. 3. 4. 9. 11.
13 July Regions 6. 9. 11. 12.
20 July Regions 1. 5. 6. 9. 10. 11.

(d) Workers in heavy or dirty jobs

29 June Regions 1. 5. 10.
6 July Regions 4. 10.
13 July Regions 4. 6. 9.
20 July Regions 1. 3. 6.

3. Shopping difficulties and food queues

29 June Regions 1. 2. 3. 5. 8. 11.
6 July Regions 1. 2. 3. 5. 7. 8.
13 July Regions 1. 2. 3. 4. 9. 10.
20 July Regions 1. 2. 7. 3. 9. 12.

4. Transport difficulties

(a) General

29 June Regions 1. 2. 3. 4. 9. 10.
6 July Regions 1. 2. 8. 10. 12.
13 July Regions 1. 2. 3. 4. 10.
20 July Regions 1. 2. 3. 5. 10. 12.

(b) Rural

29 June Regions 2. 4. 6. 9. 12.
6 July Regions 2. 3. 4. 6.
13 July Regions 1. 2. 3. 6.
20 July Regions 1. 2. 3. 6.

5. Footwear difficulties

(a) Poor quality

(i) Children's

29 June Regions 1. 4. 6. 7. 9. 10.
6 July Regions 1. 3. 4. 6. 10. 11. 12.
13 July Regions 4. 6. 10.
20 July Regions 1. 4. 5. 6. 12.

(ii) General including adults

29 June Regions 1. 4. 6.
6 July Regions 1. 10.
13 July Regions 3. 6. 10.
20 July Regions 10.

(b) Long delay and difficulty in getting shoes repaired

29 June Regions 1. 2. 4. 5. 6. 7. 9.
6 July Regions 1. 3. 5. 6. 9. 10.
13 July Regions 1. 5. 9. 10.
20 July Regions 3. 6. 7.

(c) Shortage

(i) Children's

29 June Regions 1. 4. 5. 7. 9.
6 July Regions 1. 3. 4. 10.
13 July Regions 1. 4.
20 July Regions 1. 10.

(ii) General, including adults

29 June Regions 1. 3. 4.
6 July Regions 1. 5.
13 July Regions 1. 3. 10.
20 July Regions 1.

6. Preferential treatment by shopkeepers, including under-the-counter-sales

29 June Regions 2. 3. 7. 8. 9.
6 July Regions 1. 3. 8. 10. 11.
13 July Regions 1. 2. 3. 10. 11.
20 July Regions 1. 3. 10. 11.

7. High price of green vegetables, including lettuces

29 June Regions 3. 5. 7. 10.
6 July Regions 3. 5. 7. 10. 11. 12.
13 July Regions 2. 3. 5. 7. 10. 11.
20 July Regions 1. 11.

8. Coal

(a) Difficulty of stocking up for winter now

29 June Regions 1. 2. 5.
6 July Regions 2. 3. 4.
13 July Regions 1. 2. 3. 9.
20 July Regions 1. 2. 5. 6. 8. 11.

(b) General shortage

29 June Regions 1. 2. 5.
6 July Regions 2. 3. 6. 10. 11.
13 July Regions 2. 3. 9.
20 July Regions nil

9. Clothing

(a) Poor quality (including Utility)

29 June Regions 1. 3. 5. 7. 10. 11. 12.
6 July Regions 1. 5.
13 July Regions 5. 6. 10. 12.
20 July Regions 1. 4. 10.

(b) High price

29 June Regions 1. 2. 5.
6 July Regions 1. 9. 10.
13 July Regions 1. 7. 12.
20 July Regions 2. 12.

10. Tiredness, ill-health and war weariness

29 June Regions 1. 3. 5. 7. 11. 12.
6 July Regions 9.
13 July Regions 3. 4. 7. 10. 12.
20 July Regions 1. 3. 7.

11. Shortage of domestic help

29 June Regions 5. 9. 10. 12.
6 July Regions 1. 3. 4. 11.
13 July Regions 3. 4. 7. 10.
20 July Regions 1. 3. 12.

12. Waste and misuse of petrol

29 June Regions 1. 3. 5. 7.
6 July Regions 1. 3.
13 July Regions 1. 3. 9.
20 July Regions 1. 3.

13. “Everlasting pork”

29 June Regions Nil.
6 July Regions 1. 10.
13 July Regions 1. 2. 5. 6. 10.
20 July Regions 1. 3. 10.

14. Disparities in pay

29 June Regions 1.
6 July Regions 9. 10. 11. 12.
13 July Regions 1. 9. 12.
20 July Regions 1. 8.

15. High wages

29 June Regions 10. 12.
6 July Regions 3. 4. 5. 10.
13 July Regions 10.
20 July Regions 1. 3.

16. Low wages

29 June Regions 1. 5. 8. 10.
6 July Regions 9. 12.
13 July Regions 1. 10. 12.
20 July Regions Nil.

17. Pit ballot scheme, particularly pre-Service trained boys

29 June Regions 7. 8.
6 July Regions 3. 5. 9.
13 July Regions 3. 5.
20 July Regions 1. 3.


18. Shortage and unequal distribution of fruit and tomatoes

29 June Regions 1. 2. 3. 7. 8. 9. 10.
6 July Regions 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 10. 11
13 July Regions 1. 2. 3. 4. 6. 7. 11.
20 July Regions 1. 2. 3. 7. 8. 10. 11.

19. Shortage and high price of bedding and household linen

29 June Regions 1. 3. 4. 5. 7. 10. 12.
6 July Regions 1. 4. 6. 7. 8. 10. 11.
13 July Regions 1. 4. 6. 7. 10. 12.
20 July Regions 1. 3. 4. 6. 7 .

20. Shortage and high price of crockery, glass and kitchenware

29 June Regions 1. 3. 4. 6. 10.
6 July Regions 1. 2. 3. 4. 8. 10.
13 July Regions 5. 6. 7. 10. 12.
20 July Regions 1. 10.

21. Shortage of fish

29 June Regions 2. 8. 10.
6 July Regions 2. 3. 5. 10.
13 July Regions 1. 2. 10.
20 July Regions 2. 3. 8. 9. 10.

22. Shortage of dried fruit

29 June Regions 1. 2. 3. 10. 12.
6 July Regions 1. 2. 4. 10.
13 July Regions 1. 2.
20 July Regions 1.

23. Shortage of combs

29 June Regions 1. 6. 10.
6 July Regions 1. 12.
13 July Regions 1. 6.
20 July Regions 1. 4. 5. 6. 12.

24. Shortage of beer

29 June Regions 3. 6.
6 July Regions 4. 6. 7. 12.
13 July Regions 3. 6. 10. 12.
20 July Regions 3.

25. Shortage of matches

29 June Regions 1. 10.
6 July Regions 1. 2. 8. 10.
13 July Regions 1. 10.
20 July Regions 7.

The following subjects, included in this list last month, are now omitted as there have been fewer than nine references to them during the past month: (i) Workers with little or nothing to do (ii) Cut in cheese ration (iii) Workers being paid off (iv) Shortage of scrubbing brushes (v) Shortage of good quality soap and of soapflakes .

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