§ Mr. STANTON
asked the Home Secretary if the Early Closing Order is to apply to all markets; if he is aware that at Aberdare Market on Saturday evening last, the 4th November, the police raided and took the names of stall-owners; that they had received no notice; and that these people suffered loss, being unable to sell their stock, which was perishable; are these people to be prosecuted in addition to their loss; and if he will consider the desirability of compensating such persons, many of whom have their sons in the Army?
The Order would apply to retail trade carried on in a market. I have made inquiry in regard to the case mentioned in the question, and am informed by the police that the facts are that the lessee of the market had been previously instructed that the market would have to close at nine; that police visited the market at 9.40 (there was nothing in the nature of a raid), and took the names of ten persons with a view to a caution being given, but no perishable articles were then being sold.
§ Mr. YEO
asked the Comptroller of the Household, as representing the National Health Insurance Commissioners, whether be is aware that owing to the recent Early Closing Order pharmacists are informing doctors that they should see their panel patients earlier in the evening in order that the prescriptions can be dispensed the day of issue; whether any arrangement has been made to deal with prescriptions urgently required; whether it can be stated if action Was taken in respect of insured persons receiving medical treatment who are engaged on munition or other work which would prevent them, owing to the reduced shop hours, 448W having prescriptions made up at the chemists; and whether, in these special circumstances, doctors may supply the requisite drugs and appliances?
§ Mr. C. ROBERTS
I am not aware that the Order in question, which specifically provides for the case of the supply of medicines, etc., involves any material disturbance of the present dispensing service for insured persons. If, however, the hon. Member will inform me of any particular case of difficulty which he has in mind, I will make inquiries.
Mr. MacCALLUM SCOTT
asked he Secretary for Scotland whether he has taken any steps to ascertain the views of local authorities and retail traders with regard to keeping open shops to a later hour for, say, two weeks in December and one week in January, in view of the Christmas and New Year trade; and whether any decision has been reached?
§ Mr. TENNANT
I have consulted local authorities on this point, and it will be further considered when I have received their views.
Mr. MacCALLUM SCOTT
asked the Secretary for Scotland whether he has received any representations from retail shopkeepers dealing in perishable articles, such as fruit, in favour of their being allowed to keep their shops open till ten o'clock p.m. on Saturdays; whether he is aware that if they are not enabled to sell off their stock on Saturday many of them will be driven to open their shops on Sunday to escape a total loss; and whether he proposes to take any action?
§ Mr. TENNANT
The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. I received certain representations from shopkeepers dealing in perishable articles, but I do not consider that a sufficient case has been made out for special exemption.