New Retail Businesses (Licensing)

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Commerce – in the House of Commons on 17th November 1942.

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Mr. De la Bère:

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, with a view to enabling retailers who were established prior to the war to re-establish themselves, he will consider the introduction of legislation to prohibit new retail businesses being opened for the remainder of the war under any circumstances and for a period of three years after the war, except under special licence?

Photo of Mr Hugh Dalton Mr Hugh Dalton , Bishop Auckland

No new retail businesses in most non-food goods may now be set up except under licence from the Board of Trade who are advised by the local price regulation committees. The general policy is to give licences only where it is clearly established that these are necessary in order to meet the needs of the public. I cannot at present make any statement as to post-war arrangements; but, as I announced in the House on 13th October, I am making a register of traders who have withdrawn from business during the war.

Mr. De la Bère:

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind the precarious position of the small trader with a turnover of from £5,000 to £10,000 a year, whose business has taken a lifetime to build up, and who will have to have every possible assistance both now and after the war?

Photo of Mr Hugh Dalton Mr Hugh Dalton , Bishop Auckland

As my hon. Friend knows, I am now concentrating on the present. That does not mean that we are losing sight of the future, but I am anxious to get the present machinery working well.

Mr. De la Bère:

Will my right hon. Friend remember that both the present and the future call for deep thought and care?