HC Deb 04 March 1947 vol 434 cc232-3
40. Mr. Carmichael

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware that small shopkeepers in Glasgow are still being threatened with eviction from their premises if they will not purchase at a high value; and, in view of the fact that such evictions will create a serious situation for their registered customers, he will immediately, particularly in cases where foodstuffs are concerned, requisition the premises.

Mr. Westwood

I have had a number of complaints about insecurity of tenure of shopkeepers in Glasgow and I am considering the question of an inquiry into the subject of shop tenancies. The exercise of requisitioning powers for the maintenance of food supplies is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Minister of Food to whose notice I have brought the hon. Member's representations.

Mr. McKinlay

Is the Minister aware that the Coal Board are now joining the happy throng and evicting people from their houses?

Mr. Carmichael

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the very urgent question of food which is involved? Since the tenants are being advised to vacate premises by the second week in May, does he not agree that at this late date it is time something was done, because it is not merely a question of occupying shops, but it affects the inability of thousands of people to get their regular food supplies if the shops are vacated and no new registration arrangements are made to meet the situation? Can I have an assurance that in his consultations with the Minister of Food some report will be submitted at a very early date?

Mr. Westwood

As I have already indicated I have taken all the immediate steps that were open to me to deal with the food side of the question referred to by the hon. Gentleman in his supplementary question.

Mr. Willis

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this is happening not simply in Glasgow but all over Scotland, and will he press on with the inquiry in order to get something done?

Mr. Westwood

I will certainly press on with the setting up of the committee necessary to carry out the inquiry.

Mr. Rankin

Will the Secretary of State keep before him the peculiar position of shopkeepers whose living premises are at the back part of their shops?

Mr. Westwood

All these points will be considered.