HC Deb 08 July 1941 vol 373 cc26-7
57. Sir John Mellor

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he can devise any method of discouraging the formation of queues in and outside shops for the purchase of goods in short supply, seeing that this practice favours unfairly those persons with most leisure?

Major Lloyd George

There is no evidence of the formation of queues for any rationed foodstuffs except to some extent in the case of meat. In that case competition for the better cuts has at times led to the formation of a queue. It has been decided wherever possible and practicable to improve distributive methods by an extension of rationing or otherwise. When such improvements have been effected there should be little reasonable justification for the formation of queues for any important commodity though it will be difficult entirely to eliminate them, particularly as they tend to form for a variety of causes, such as shortage of staff, not related to the supplies available.

Sir J. Mellor

In view of the unfairness to those who are too busy to stand in queues, will the Parliamentary Secretary invite the police to stop the formation of queues outside the shops?

Mr. McGovern

Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that a large number of these queues are due to the fact that certain shopkeepers with rationed foods refuse to make proper allocation on Fridays and Mondays? They insist on Saturday being the selected day. If they rationed out the food on two or three days, the queues might disappear.

Major Lloyd George

I will look into that. I am not sure about the actual details, but I know that in some cases the difficulty is that supplies arrive towards the week-end. As regards the Supplementary Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Tamworth (Sir J. Mellor), it is not so easy to use the police for dis- persing queues. Moreover, the police have quite a lot of work to do at present.

Mr. Messer

Is it not a fact that if you do not have queues, you will have riots?

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