HC Deb 27 April 1948 vol 450 cc194-5
26. Mr. Carmichael

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland the number of cases in which he has exercised his authority under the Emergency Powers to protect shopkeepers and others against the demands to purchase or quit their premises; and if he is satisfied that his powers are adequate to deal with this serious problem in Scotland, or when he proposes to bring in legislation to deal with it.

Mr. Woodburn

I am at present examining a number of cases submitted to me by the local authorities. I cannot yet say in how many cases requisitioning powers will be used or whether these powers will be adequate.

Mr. Carmichael

In view of the fact that my right hon. Friend is still examining the question of his requisitioning powers, may I ask him if he is also examining the possibility of introducing at an early date legislation to cover all the cases?

Mr. Woodburn

I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer which I gave on this subject last week.

Mr. Rankin

Could my right hon. Friend indicate approximately the number of cases he is at present examining? Is it a dozen, 20 or 30?

Mr. Woodburn

That would convey nothing, because a number of cases are under examination and it is difficult to reduce them to a concrete number which can be dealt with.

Mr. McGovern

Surely the Minister could tell us how many cases he has submitted to the local authorities? Is the number so small that he is afraid to tell the House?

Mr. Woodburn

My hon. Friend is under a misapprehension. Local authorities examine the cases and submit them to me. I have sent back to the local authorities a considerable number of cases, numbering over 100, which they sent originally and which they are now examining. Some of them have come back to me for further examination.