HC Deb 30 July 1941 vol 373 cc1399-400
55. Mr. Lipson

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he is aware that the fact that multiple shops and big stores are able to obtain vegetables and other articles of foodstuffs which are in short supply, when none can be obtained by the smaller shops, is having a disturbing effect; and how he proposes to bring about a more equitable distribution of available foodstuffs?

Major Lloyd George

The fact to which my hon. Friend refers is the natural consequence of the greater purchasing power of a large and highly organised concern as compared with a small trader. As I stated in a recent Debate, proposals for effecting a more even distribution of foods which are not at present rationed—including fruit and vegetables—are under examination in my Department.

Mr. Lipson

Does the right hon. and gallant Gentleman agree that the system of distribution which enables a multiple shop to obtain five tons of potatoes at a time, when others cannot obtain them, is bound to cause trouble and queues? Will he try to alter this state of things?

Major Lloyd George

I certainly will, but I had a similar case to this given to me from another part of the country recently, and on examination it was found to be entirely unjustified.

Mr. Hannah

Is there not a danger of small traders being squeezed out altogether in many cases?