HC Deb 01 March 1951 vol 484 c2272
12. Mr. Edelman

asked the President of the Board of Trade what steps he is taking to prevent the hoarding of scarce materials.

Mr. H. Wilson

I am watching the position, but am not aware of any significant hoarding. Where there are Government operated controls, stocks are taken into account in making allocation of new supplies. In cases where a material is subject to consumption licence, hoarding is virtually impossible. Where distribution is effected by industry in co-operation with the Board of Trade, stocks are normally taken into account in making new supplies available to consumers. If I were to receive evidence of hoarding on a significant scale in cases where there are neither Government operated controls nor informal arrangements with industry, I should be prepared to consider appropriate action.

Mr. Edelman

While welcoming any future action my right hon. Friend may take, may I ask whether he will bear in mind that private hoarding has the effect of still further raising prices and interfering with current production?

Mr. Wilson

Yes, I am aware of it, but I am still waiting to see if there is evidence that it is taking place on a substantial scale.

Mr. R. S. Hudson

Does not the right hon. Gentleman think that it would have been better if the Government had done a bit of hoarding of raw materials all last year?

Mr. Wilson

The right hon. Gentleman knows we are to debate that tomorrow, when I shall be delighted to answer any questions he puts to me.