§ 6.24 p.m.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Heneage
I beg to move, in page 7, line 9, to leave out "smoking."
There is also a consequential Amendment on Clause 10. I do not know whether hon. Members know what smoking really is. For many years smoking has been part of the wholesalers' business. It is quite possible that 75 per cent. of the wholesalers also deal in smoking, and it is probably also true that there is no place where a wholesaler's right to take part in the smoking trade is not recognised. It is certainly recognised in all the principal ports. The wholesaler generally specialises in smoked haddocks and smoked herring, but it also provides for other commodities which he cannot sell or which for other reasons he wishes to keep. It provides a most important outlet for any surplus left over at the end of the day. As far as the retailer is concerned probably only about 50 per cent. deal in smoking, and this is probably a diminishing number because smoking places, that is, where smoking is carried out, are not very popular with local authorities. For that reason this business is more suitable for the wholesaler who has larger premises. It is no good putting up a smoking house in a built-up area.
603 There appears to be some doubt whether a wholesaler can enter a marketing scheme, that is of the wholesaler who has a certain amount of smoking trade as well. The question is, can he under the Clause enter a marketing scheme in any of the other trades in which he is interested? Will the fact that he deals in smoked fish prevent his going in for any other marketing scheme? If a wholesaler wishes to have a marketing scheme for smoked fish in addition to his other activities, can he, under the Bill, go in for a marketing scheme? The smoked fish trade wishes to be as well organised as any other section of the industry and to have a marketing scheme of their own. If the Amendment were accepted there would have to be further Amendments in the Bill, because they would become what is called a designated trade, but the trade would like to be reassured on the two points I have mentioned, and I hope I shall get a reply from the Minister.
§ 6.28 p.m.
§ Mr. W. S. Morrison
The hon. and gallant Member has asked two questions: first, what is the position of a wholesaler who indulges in smoking as a sideline to his normal business—will he be prevented from entering into any marketing scheme? He will not be prevented from entering into a marketing scheme as a wholesaler, but with regard to the processing side of his business the hon. and gallant Member will recollect that he is dealt with in Clause 2 where it refers to the business of curing, salting, drying, smoking or canning white fish, which make together one designated business. The mere fact of removing smoking from this Clause would not make smoking by itself a designated business. Under the Bill all these processing businesses are governed by regulations made by the Commission, in contrast to the business of production and distribution for which the Clause enables marketing schemes to be made. That principle was adopted because it did not seem necessary to create the elaborate organisation of a marketing scheme for processing business as such. Power in the hands of the Commission to make regulations designed to guarantee quality seemed to be the best way of bringing up the level of this business and improve 604 its general efficiency. My answer to the hon. and gallant Member is that even if the Amendment were carried it would not be possible for the smoking business, as such, to have a marketing scheme of its own.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Heneage
I hope my right hon. Friend will realise that I mentioned that if this Amendment were adopted it would require certain consequential Amendments.
§ Mr. Morrison
I appreciate that, but as I have pointed out, the wholesaler who smokes can join a wholesalers' marketing scheme, and the Commission have power to make regulations with regard to the processing businesses. I hope that in these circumstances my hon. and gallant Friend will not press his Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.