HC Deb 09 March 1949 vol 462 cc1183-4
48. Mr. Nally

asked the Minister of Food if he has considered the circumstances of a prosecution by his Department at Middleton, Lancashire, on 31st January when a greengrocer was fined for price offences; and what action has been subsequently taken to make it clear to all retailers that his Department will take action to protect any trader from being blacklisted by wholesalers as a consequence of giving evidence as to offences committed in the wholesale markets.

Mr. Strachey

Yes, Sir. I have considered this case, and I will make use of all the powers entrusted to me to protect retailers who are blacklisted, or threatened with blacklisting, as a result of giving evidence of offences committed in the wholesale markets.

Mr. Nally

Is my right hon. Friend aware that in the North, in Lancashire and the Midlands, in Wolverhampton and areas surrounding my own constituency, we have a long list of cases in which retailers have been prosecuted, and in which, obviously, there have been impositions of conditions of sale and price offences by retailers, and in which they will not give evidence because of a genuine fear among retailers that the consequences of giving such evidence are that they are blacklisted, and that although they will get fine words from the Minister of Food they will not get adequate protection?

Mr. Strachey

I am aware of this difficulty, and I hope that the answer I have just given will have some effect in the matter.