HC Deb 06 March 1941 vol 369 cc1002-3
30. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Minister of Health whether, in view of the great hardship being experienced by the proprietors of small businesses and shops through the destruction of their premises by enemy action, he would extend the powers now exercised by local authorities to enable them to acquire or requisition suitable small business or shop accommodation?

Mr. E. Brown

The general question of the provision of sufficient shops in bombed areas is one for my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade. Local authorities for such areas are already so fully occupied at present that I should be reluctant to place on them the additional obligation suggested by my hon. Friend. I am sure, however, that local authorities will do all in their power to help traders whose premises have been destroyed, for instance by making available to them unoccupied premises under their control which are not required for other urgent purposes.

Mr. Sorensen

While I thank the Minister for his reply, is he aware that several local authorities, who desire to assist this class of sufferer, are unable to do it owing to restriction of their powers? Will he give the matter his particular attention?

Mr. Brown

If the hon. Member will let me have full particulars, I shall be glad to consider the matter.

Sir Percy Harris

Will not the Commissioners under the War Damage Bill be responsible for helping people whose businesses have been destroyed?

Mr. Brown

In this particular matter, as I have said, the Board of Trade have a responsibility.