Black Market Offences (Penalties).

Oral Answers to Questions — Food Supplies. – in the House of Commons on 19th February 1942.

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Photo of Hon. John Stourton Hon. John Stourton , Salford South

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he is aware that the recent maximum penalty increase of three times the price which an article might fetch, if lawfully sold, is inadequate to stop black markets which menace the proper conduct of the war; and whether, in view of grave cases recently brought to trial, he will take steps, by Order in Council, to increase the maximum penalty by an amount not exceeding 10 times the price which the article might be expected to fetch, if lawfully sold, and to render offenders liable to penal servitude for a term not exceeding 20 years?

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

The maximum penalties were increased by an Order in Council made on 9th December, 1941. My Noble Friend has seen no evidence which makes him think it is desirable to make any further revision at the present time.

Photo of Hon. John Stourton Hon. John Stourton , Salford South

Is not the Minister aware that the public are sick and tired of being exploited by these racketeers and that they are even more sickened by the pusillanimous attitude of the Government in dealing with them?

Photo of Mr Samuel Silverman Mr Samuel Silverman , Nelson and Colne

Is it now an offence to purchase from the black market?

Photo of Hon. John Stourton Hon. John Stourton , Salford South

Are black market activities increasing or decreasing at the present time?

Major Lloyd George:

I could not say without notice, but I see that the penalties are increasing very substantially.

Photo of Hon. John Stourton Hon. John Stourton , Salford South

Is the Minister not aware that there should be a further substantial increase in those penalties?