HC Deb 09 July 1941 vol 373 cc177-8
58. Mr. Rhys Davies

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether it is proposed to deprive small shops of supplies where the number of rationed customers is below 25; whether the proposal is to apply equally to branches of large stores; and to what type of shop those customers will be transferred?

Major Lloyd George

Yes, Sir. Retailers, including branches of large stores, who have not more than 25 registrations for a rationed commodity, will not be permitted to sell that commodity. The customers affected will be allowed to reregister with the retailer of their choice who has the necessary number of registered customers.

Mr. Davies

Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that the automatic consequence of this decision will be detrimental to the small shops and increase the trade of the big stores?

Major Lloyd George

I am sure the hon. Gentleman appreciates as much as anybody else that in present circumstances the need for economic distribution and saving in transport of foodstuffs makes it necessary that this action should be taken. If he will look into the matter, I think he will find that there are comparatively few shops with less than 25 registrations.

Mr. Stephen

Will any compensation be arranged for the small shops?

Major Lloyd George

I do not know what sort of compensation the hon. Member has in mind, but if he will look into the matter, he will see that it will affect relatively few people. I may point out that one man with fewer than 25 registrations for cheese, for example, has in the past had to be sent from the wholesaler small parcels of 2½lbs. of cheese.

Mr. McKinlay

What will happen in the case of those firms which have not so far troubled with registrations and counter- foils, and which have no registered customers for any commodities? Will it be open to them to start having registrations now, whereas people who have had these worries up to now will have to go off the list?

Major Lloyd George

I would not like to answer that question without notice, but obviously if somebody has not troubled to have any rationed commodities so far, I do not see why he should come into it now.