HC Deb 22 January 1947 vol 432 c191
4. Mr. Morley

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will instruct the Singapore Government to assist in the allocation of supplies to the co-operative society recently established in Singapore; and not to encourage the allocation of supplies to monopolistic combines such as the British Association of Straits Merchants.

Mr. Creech Jones

The British Association of Straits Merchants is not a monopolistic combine. It is a London association of old established merchants trading in Malaya with which a contract was made for the handling and clearance of certain relief supplies, ordered on Government account in the months preceding and immediately following the liberation of Malaya. Particulars of this contract, which will shortly lapse were given by my predecessor to my hon. Friend the Member for Leek (Mr. Harold Davies) in a reply in this House on 31st July last. Under it, the association undertook to deliver a due proportion of these supplies free of commission to importers who were not among its members. The particular co-operative society to which my hon. Friend refers was only recently established but it has already been allocated supplies for distribution.

Sir Waldron Smithers

In view of the fact that experience in Britain has shown that co-operative societies are one of the biggest monopolies, why should there be discrimination?