§ 32. Mr. C. S. Taylor
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will now consider postponing the Census of Distribution Plan, to be taken in 1950, owing to the abnormality of business conditions at the present time.
§ Mr. H. Wilson
I am sure that it is always possible to find some departure from normal trading conditions in any year, and I would not regard the representations that have been made to me about 1949 as sufficient in themselves to justify any postponement. Nevertheless, during the last two months I have received communications from hon. Members on both sides of the House and from many trade organisations. These communications have shown me that many of those engaged in the distributive trades have not become sufficiently acquainted either with the form that the census will take or with their responsibilities in completing the census forms; this is particularly so in the case of small shopkeepers. Since it is fundamental to the success of the census that traders should 322 fully understand the part they must play, the Government have decided to postpone the Census of Distribution for one year and I shall make the necessary Order as soon as possible. Moreover, many traders have not realised they may, if it is more convenient to them, make a return for their financial year rather than the calendar year 1949.