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?
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.
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.
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.