HC Deb 31 July 1946 vol 426 cc937-8
27. Mr. Harold Davies

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will give details of the agreement between the Government of the Malayan Union and the British Association of Straits Merchants for the distribution of goods imported on behalf of the Government; and, in particular, whether the Government exercises control to ensure that distribution is in accordance with Government plans for the rehabilitation of the country; and whether there is adequate control over retail distribution and prices.

Mr. George Hall

The agreement in question was made with the British Military Administration in Malaya, and is still being observed by the Civil Governments. The British Association of Straits Merchants act as agents for the Governments and provide for storage and distribution in accordance with Government direction, for which they are paid reasonable expenses. A proportion of all supplies is allocated to the association for sale on a 5 per cent. commission basis, the remainder being issued by them to other merchants for cash. Under the agreement, distribution prices are determined by Government and the price control officer fixes all subsequent wholesale and retail profit margins. The agreement will shortly lapse with the end of Government procurement.

Mr. Davies

Will my right hon. Friend make available a copy of the report upon the cost of living, and put it in the Library of the House for hon. Members, if that is at all possible?

Mr. Hall

That is another question, but I will look into the matter.