HC Deb 22 April 1901 vol 92 cc913-4

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to the fact that English salesmen are being driven out of Smithfield Market by Dutch and American traders; that within the past few weeks several transfers have been allowed by the Markets Sub-Committee; and that in one case the sum of £16,000 was paid by American traders to acquire a stall in Central Avenue at Smithfield, and that another American firm paid £12,500 for an inferior position; whether there are any regulations in Smithfield which prohibit trafficking in market sites; and whether something can be done to put a stop to foreign firms ousting the English, Irish, and Scotch traders from their own market.


It appears to be the fact that transfers of the tenancies of premises in Smithfield Market frequently take place, and during the last fifteen months there have been two cases which correspond more or less to the description at the end of the first paragraph of the question. Regulations require that a full disclosure of the terms and of the nature and extent of the trade and all other facts and circumstances connected with any proposed transfer shall be made to the Central Markets Committee, and I am informed that this is done in every case. I am not aware that it is correct to say that English salesmen are being driven out by Dutch and American tradesmen. Subject to the approval of the Corporation these transfers appear to be conducted according to the principles ordinarily governing the disposal of the goodwill of a business. In any case I have no powers of interference.