Check Trading

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Commerce – in the House of Commons on 11th September 1942.

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Photo of Sir Richard Denman Sir Richard Denman , Leeds Central

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that many thousands of wage-earners are disturbed by the threatened cessation of check trading, because they will be unable to obtain credit so cheaply by other means; and what advantage he expects will be achieved if he turns check traders into moneylenders for the duration of the war, or alternatively, forces wage-earners into the hands of less desirable money-lenders?

Photo of Mr Charles Waterhouse Mr Charles Waterhouse , Leicester South

As regards the first part of the Question, I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to similar Questions on this subject on Tuesday last. Even if the prohibition of poundage were to lead to the cessation of check trading, I cannot agree that the money lender would be the only alternative for wage-earners who could not afford to pay cash.

Photo of Sir Richard Denman Sir Richard Denman , Leeds Central

Is it wise at this time to add to the shopping worries of the harassed housewife?

Photo of Mr Charles Waterhouse Mr Charles Waterhouse , Leicester South

My right hon. Friend has no such intention. Ceiling prices and margins of profits have been fixed, and were we to make an exception to these prices, it would jeopardise, or be likely to jeopardise, the whole structure of price control, and therefore run contrary to the endeavour of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to avoid inflation.

Photo of Sir Richard Denman Sir Richard Denman , Leeds Central

Is not this system a quite separate service, with no relation to the margins of profits?

Photo of Mr Charles Waterhouse Mr Charles Waterhouse , Leicester South

No, I do not think it can be said to have no relation to the; margins when in fact a check is sold for 21S. 6d. to buy goods the marginal or ceiling price of which is £1.

Photo of Mr Herbert Williams Mr Herbert Williams , Croydon South

Will the hon. and gallant Gentleman initiate proceedings against any hon. Member who pays for a suit of clothes by means of a bank overdraft?