HC Deb 21 March 1940 vol 358 c2139W
Sir P. Hannon

asked the Home Secretary what reply he has returned to a communication from the Early Closing Association on shops hours of closing, expressing disappointment that the withdrawal of the Order-in-Council has not been accompanied by some intimation that the return to pre-war hours of shop closing is to be reviewed to confirm the necessity for such a step?

Sir J. Anderson

I have informed the association that there is no power under the Emergency Powers (Defence) Act, 1939, to make a regulation fixing for the summer (when daylight lasts until 8 p.m. or later) earlier closing hours than those fixed by Section 1 of the Shops (Hours of Closing) Act, 1928.

Mr. Rhys Davies

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that, in spite of their legal right to keep their shops open to a later hour, a large proportion of shopkeepers close their establishments as they did during the black-out, because their experience has proved that the public have got accustomed to do their shopping early; that in spite of that a small minority in some townships break through this practice to the annoyance of the majority; and will he take early steps, under the emergency powers, or otherwise, to secure the universal closing of shops to coincide with those which prevailed during the black-out?

Sir J. Anderson

As I have explained in reply to previous Questions, I have no power under the Emergency Powers (Defence) Act, 1939, to continue during the summer the earlier closing hours which have been in force during the black-out in the winter, but I would remind the hon. Member that if two-thirds of the shopkeepers in any trade in any district agree on earlier closing, it is already open to them to request their local authority to make a closing order under the Shops Act, 1912.

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