Small Traders.

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Commerce. – in the House of Commons on 2nd June 1942.

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Mr. De la Bère:

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware of certain advertisements which have appeared in trade and other papers whereby an endeavour is being made to acquire small shops as going concerns at realisation prices; and, since the practice of profiting by distressed circumstances created by the war is undesirable, whether he will take steps to investigate these matters and find an alternative solution to the difficulties of those traders and small businesses which are adversely affected by reason of their personnel being called to the services?

Photo of Mr Hugh Dalton Mr Hugh Dalton , Bishop Auckland

I am aware of the practice to which my hon. Friend refers, and I am considering an amendment of the provisions of the Location of Retail Businesses Order accordingly.

Mr. De la Bère:

While appreciating what my right hon. Friend has said, may I ask whether he will take immediate steps to see that small businesses are not absorbed by larger concerns? Any delay must inevitably lead to their being ruined and never being able to get into business again.

Photo of Mr Hugh Dalton Mr Hugh Dalton , Bishop Auckland

Yes, Sir. I hope very shortly that the amendment to which I refer may be able to be put into effect.

Photo of Mr William Craven-Ellis Mr William Craven-Ellis , Southampton

Will the Minister give consideration to the issue of licences to small businesses which are closed down in consequence of the war, so that they may have priority in re-establishing themselves after the war?

Photo of Mr Hugh Dalton Mr Hugh Dalton , Bishop Auckland

That is a separate point, but perhaps the hon. Member will put it on the Paper.

Mr. De la Bère:

It is a very good suggestion.