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?
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to post-war arrangements; but, as I announced in the House on 13th October, I am making a register of traders who have withdrawn from business during the war.
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.