§ 37. Mr. NIELD
asked the Home Secretary whether he has received representations seeking a further variation of the hops Closing Order in the direction of extended hours; what is the nature of his movement in relation to the class of trader and what its numerical value; has he replied, and, if so, to what effect; and does he propose to qualify in any, and, if so, in what, respect the policy outlined by him when the subject was last discussed in this House?
I have received a certain number of representations in favour of extended hours. These have come almost entirely from the confectionery trade. As I have already intimated, I am not prepared to comply with the request, and I do not contemplate any alteration in the hours at present fixed In accordance, however, with the undertaking to allow an extension of hours at Christmas, I have made an amending Order suspending entirely the Early Closing Order from Thursday, the 14th December to Saturday, the 23rd December, both days inclusive.
§ Sir C. KINLOCH-COOKE
Has not the right hon. Gentleman received communications from small shopkeepers in Devon-port and Plymouth asking for a reconsideration of this question, and is he not aware, as stated, that a great number of small shopkeepers are feeling the stress and the strain due to this Act of Parliament, and are they not to be protected?
I have received a number of representations from various places, both on one side and the other, many of them are from shopkeeping associations, protesting indignantly against any suggestion that the Closing Order should be modified.
§ Sir C. KINLOCH-COOKE
Did not the right hon. Gentleman receive from myself a communication from a widow?
§ 38. Mr. NIELD
asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that it is alleged that the effect of the recent Order for the earlier closing of shops on Saturday evenings has already resulted in an extension of Sunday trading, and that many shop keepers who never previously opened on 644 Sunday are now to be found in all parts of the Metropolis and its suburbs carrying on their trading during the greater part of that day; and will he take steps to restrict, and finally to terminate, this Sunday labour in the interests not only of the shopkeeper, but also of the public generally?
I would refer the hon. and learned Member to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member for South Nottingham on Thursday last.
§ 42. Mr. YEO
asked the Comptroller of the Household, as representing the National Health Insurance Commissioners, whether, in view of the fact that in many districts chemists, since the recently Early Closing Order, refuse to open after 8 p.m. for the dispensing of medicines for panel patients, he will take steps to extend the closing hour of chemists' shops to 9 p.m. on the other week-days besides Saturday, particularly having regard to the fact that many insured persons are now working at a long distance from home and until late in the evening and are thus unable to have the medicines dispensed overnight, and they leave home before the chemist opens in the morning?
§ Mr. C. ROBERTS (Comptroller of the Household)
I have received representations as to this matter, and I am consulting my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary.