§ 14. Mr. Leslie
asked the Minister of Labour whether, in view of the extension of opening hours of shops beyond the hours specified in the recent order of the Home Office he will now consider a limitation of the working hours of assistants?
§ Mr. E. Brown
I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for North Aberdeen (Mr. Garro Jones) on 25th October.
§ Mr. Leslie
I suppose the Minister is aware of the clamour of certain traders for the extension of opening hours; can nothing be done to safeguard the interests of the assistants?
§ Mr. Duncan
Is my right hon. Friend aware of the anxiety of many small traders in London as to the present position, and can be make a statement?
§ 30. Mrs. Tate
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, in view of the hardships suffered by shop assistants in tobacconists owing to the long hours and difficulties of travel in the 2081 black-out, he will take steps to cancel the exemption of these shops from the provisions of the Shops (Hours of Closing) Act, 1928?
§ The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Sir John Anderson)
I presume that my hon. Friend refers to the recent Defence Regulation dealing with the earlier closing of shops. After careful consideration I came to the conclusion that I should not be justified in requiring tobacconists to close their shops earlier than they are required to do by the Act of 1928, in view of the fact that tobacco can be sold in places of entertainment and in licensed premises after the hour at which tobacconists' shops are required to close.
§ Mrs. Tate
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there are instances where these employes are working extraordinarily long hours and where, owing to the blackout, they are unable to get proper hours of rest at home? While appreciating the difficulties which he envisaged in his reply, does he not consider that there is a need to bring pressure to bear on the industry so that the sellers of this luxury article should have proper hours of rest?
§ Sir J. Anderson
Consideration with regard to shop assistants is one of the main reasons for the recent Order, and it is only because of the special circumstances affecting tobacconists' shops which were taken into account in regard to the Shops Act that I did not feel it necessary to interfere with the existing arrangement.
§ Mr. Leslie
Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that the majority of the assistants in these shops are young girls, and that tobacconists are the worst sinners from the point of view of long hours and low wages?