HC Deb 07 April 1938 vol 334 cc499-500
22. Miss Ward

asked the Home Secretary whether he will state his objection to investigating the complaints made by small shopkeepers against the operation of the Shops (Sunday Trading Restrictions) Act?

The Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd)

My right hon. Friend is fully aware, from representations already made to him, of the circumstances and considerations on which these complaints are based, and he does not think that any useful purpose would be served at the moment by the investigations which my hon. Friend asks him to make. As was indicated in the answer to my hon. Friend's question last Thursday, there are difficulties in the way of any proposal for the differential treatment of shops selling the same commodities; and it is clear, from other representations which have been received, that there would be very strong opposition to any such proposal.

Miss Ward

In view of the grievances that are arising from this Act, is my hon. Friend trying to get over the difficulties?

Mr. Rhys Davies

Will the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that there are tens of thousands of shopkeepers and scores of thousands of shop assistants who are eminently satisfied with the Measure?

Miss Ward

Can I have an answer to my supplementary question?

Mr. Leslie

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the trade associations representative of these small shopkeepers are whole-heartedly in favour of the Act, and that the agitation comes from wholesalers who pose as friends of the small trader?

Miss Ward

May I have an answer to my supplementary question?

Mr. Lloyd

One of my right hon. Friend's chief tasks is to endeavour to surmount difficulties, but the hon. Member will see, in view of the difference of opinion that has been indicated, that it is not easy.