asked the President of the Board of Trade how many employees of firms have been prosecuted for illegal transactions in coupons; how many such prosecutions have succeeded; whether any employees have been prosecated where all the financial benefits of such transactions have passed to the employer; and why all prosecutions of this nature are not directed exclusively against the employer?
The President of the Board of Trade Mr. Dalton):
From 1st June, 1941, when clothes rationing was introduced, up to 15th September, 1942, 72 employees have been prosecuted for aiding and abetting offences committed by their employers against the Consumer Rationing Orders. Fifty-six of these persons have been convicted. It is not possible to say whether in these cases all the financial benefits from law-breaking have passed to the employers.
May we take it that the right hon. Gentleman will inform his legal department that no prosecutions will lie against the employees in future where the benefit of these illegal transactions inures direct to the employer?
No, Sir, I cannot give any such instruction. It is the duty of employees, as well as of employers, to keep the law. The heavier weight of fine falls upon the employer, but I shall give no instructions to my legal department which will diminish the efficacy of our measures to prevent such transactions.