HC Deb 04 February 1947 vol 432 cc1562-4
33. Mrs. Mann

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if his attention has been called to the plight of shopkeepers who are being asked to pay 300 per cent. increases in Glasgow or quit their long-established businesses; and if he will consider protecting them as English shopkeepers are protected.

Mr. Westwood

I am not aware of increases in shop rents of the order indicated, or of any legislation which protects shopkeepers in England against increase of rent. I should be glad to have particulars of any cases which my hon. Friend may have in mind and to consider whether there is any action which I could usefully take, but I see no immediate prospect of legislation on this subject.

Mrs. Mann

Can my right hon. Friend say if he considers it fair that shopkeepers in Sauciehall St., Glasgow, should be asked to buy their shops at £7,500, the offer being an increase of £4,000 from that of last year; that they were told to put up that figure or get out; and that all over Glasgow a decision has been taken to raise the rents on the shopkeepers of that city?

Mr. Willis

In view of the very unsatisfactory state of the Scottish law in regard to landlord and tenant, would my right hon. Friend consider setting up a committee to go into the whole of this question with a view to the possibility of introducing legislation in two or three years' time when it becomes possible to do so?

Mr. Gallacher

Is it not possible for the Minister to get a short Bill generally accepted and passed through this House without any difficulty, which would allow control of rents or sale prices for shops in Glasgow and throughout Scotland generally?

Mr. Westwood

The prices which are being charged for these properties put up for sale in Glasgow may not be fair, but I have no power under the administrative powers given me by Act of Parliament to deal with the unfairness of those who at the present time are taking full advantage of the shortage of property in the City of Glasgow, nor can I hold out any hope of legislation dealing with this particular problem.

Mr. Carmichael

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that today in Glasgow it is not the wealthy shopkeepers in Sauciehall Street, but hundreds of very small shopkeepers in the working class districts, who are being requested to make offers for their premises; that a number have already admitted that they cannot make an offer and already are being threatened with eviction on 28th May; and if he has not power to stop that, surely some investigation should be made so that Parliament or at least the Secretary of State for Scotland could prevent the wholesale dismissal of people from premises where they have built up their small businesses?