§ 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.