HL Deb 25 January 1944 vol 130 cc516-7

My Lords, I beg to ask the question standing in my name.

[The question was as follows:

To ask His Majesty's Government, what measures have been taken in those parts of Sicily and Italy that have been conquered by the Allied Armies, to control prices and to prevent black-market activities; and what success has been achieved.]


My Lords, throughout occupied territory prices have been fixed and are controlled as strictly as it is administratively possible. Offenders are dealt with in Allied Military Courts with fines and imprisonment, and only by Italian Courts when the Allied Military Government is satisfied that they will deal severely with guilty parties. Nevertheless there is an extensive black market, and the noble Lord will realize how difficult it is to deal with communities which for years have lived under a system in which they were enabled to buy and sell in black markets and had no recourse to tribunals and police to enforce their rights.


My Lords, arising out of the noble Lord's reply, may I ask whether he is able to say that, as reported, the position is not made any easier on account of the fact that purchases are made in the black market on behalf of military messes? I was not aware that the noble Lord was going to reply, and I am sorry I have not given him notice of this particular question.


My Lords, I have no personal knowledge of anything of the kind, but if the noble Lord would give me particulars, I shall undertake to make inquiries and let him know.