It would be contrary to the interests of public security to publish the names of nucleus and closed firms in any industry. The names are, however, given on request, and in confidence, to representative trade associations. I am sending to my hon. Friend, for his confidential information, a list of nucleus toy firms.
Is there any reason why individual traders, who will be very badly affected by these closing Orders, might not have the information, assuming, for example, that they are not members of any trading associations?
It is important, for the reason that I have suggested, to keep this information within as narrow a circle as possible. I am sure that my hon. Friend will appreciate that the enemy would like to know the details about our concentration of industry.
No, Sir, but the reason why we are carrying out concentration in this and other industries is in order to put to a strategical purpose premises, machinery and labour, previously used for non-strategical purposes, for war production and the storage of war material. It is not desirable to tell the enemy about those matters.
Does not the right hon. Gentleman realise that there is grave anxiety among people whose small businesses have been closed? Surely there is no reason why a list should not be given in confidence to such individual firms of firms which have been closed, or even made nucleus firms, so that they can get into touch with each other?