Black Market Operations.

Oral Answers to Questions — Food Supplies. – in the House of Commons on 11th February 1942.

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Photo of Mr Reginald Sorensen Mr Reginald Sorensen , Leyton West

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he has any further information and has taken any action respecting the usage of car-parks at dog-racing tracks and other places for black market operations; and whether he will publish the number of prosecutions and convictions, respectively, in connection with black market operations?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food (Major Lloyd George):

I have no further information at present to give my hon. Friend regarding the usage of car-parks for black market operations. The total number of prosecutions instituted by the Ministry of Food since the outbreak of war up to 31st December last was 39,927. It would be quite impracticable to distinguish in this large total the number of offences which might be described as black market operations.

Photo of Mr Reginald Sorensen Mr Reginald Sorensen , Leyton West

Has the right hon. and gallant Gentleman any information regarding the callings and professions of large numbers of these black market operators?

Major Lloyd George:

We have in the case of those who come under our notice, but in order to reply to the hon. Member I should require notice.

Photo of Mr Daniel Lipson Mr Daniel Lipson , Cheltenham

Does not my right hon. and gallant Friend think that, in view of the large number of prosecutions that have taken place, a greater deterrent is required?

Major Lloyd George:

My hon. Friend must not assume that all of the 39,000 prosecutions to which I have referred are black market prosecutions, as the majority are minor offences, some due to inexperience and shortness of staff. It would be most unfair to the traders of this country to assume that all the prosecutions we have to undertake refer to the black market.

Viscountess Astor:

Is it not true that if honest people would stop buying things from the black market, the black market would disappear?