asked the resident of the Board of Trade (1) whether, in any further concentration of retail trade, he will provide that the deciding factor shall be the public convenience and the releasing of labour for essential work rather than the financial weakness of any unit; and
(2) whether he will take measures to ensure a more equitable distribution among the smaller shopkeepers; whether he will give an assurance that the compulsory levy when it is instituted shall embrace all retail trade, be graduated in accordance with turnover and the relation of net profits to gross profits; and that any compensation shall be adequate to provide for loss of business?
Yes, Sir; a list of manufacturers whose factories have been closed under the concentration of production policy is being kept by the Board of Trade, in accordance with the undertaking given in paragraph 3 of the Explanatory Memorandum on the Concentration of Production. A record is also kept of all premises requisitioned through the Control of Factory and Storage Premises, whether or not the requisitioning has resulted in the closing of the business concerned.
asked the President of the Board of Trade, in view of the suggestions put forward for post-war planned economy by traders who, for the most part, are wishful to conserve against all newcomers both existing and potential business, what steps are taken by his Department to safeguard the continued existence of free opportunity for would-be traders and especially ex-service men?
My hon. Friend will realise that traders closed down by the war have a claim to consideration which cannot be overlooked, but the problem of new entrants into industry and trade after the war is not being lost sight of.
Would it not be an appalling situation if people coming back from the war were denied a free opportunity to start in business, and if the right to trade were controlled by a bureaucracy?