HC Deb 25 March 1946 vol 421 cc13-4W
Mrs. Ganley

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a further statement about the assistance to be granted to ex-traders and the war disabled who wish to enter retail trade and indicate the course he proposes to pursue after 31st March, 1946.

Mr. Belcher

Yes, Sir. We have decided to continue for a further period to assist the present priority classes—war disabled persons and ex-retailers of consumer rationed goods—by granting them coupon floats with which to stock retail shops and to extend this assistance to ex-Servicemen and women, as defined in Section 6, Subsection (1) (a) and (b) of the Reinstatement in Civil Employment Act, 1944, with previous experience of this type of trading Sponsorship of building licences will also be given to the same classes of ex-Servicemen and women, as well as to the present priority classes of ex-traders and war disabled persons.

I should repeat the warnings which my right hon. and learned Friend gave in his statement on this matter on the 17th December. He then said that, while under these arrangements everything possible would be done to help the priority classes to get their shops sufficiently repaired to enable them to open their busi- nesses, there could be no absolute guarantee that labour and materials to carry out the actual work would be immediately available in any particular district, and the grant of licences must, in any case, be contingent upon other urgent demands for building labour in the area. He also stressed that men and women should realise before putting their money into a shop for the first time that they must expect supplies to be difficult for a considerable time to come, particularly for those with no previous trade connections.