HC Deb 02 November 1948 vol 457 cc46-7W
95. Mr. Beswick

asked the President of the Board of Trade what undertaking he has given to permit a poundage charge on trade carried out on a mutuality club basis: whether he proposes to make an order permitting such poundage; and what poundage he proposes to allow.

Mr. Bottomley

Mutuality club trading is a form of check trading, and poundage is intended to cover the costs of collecting instalment payments in respect of checks. The charging of poundage is prohibited by the Check Trading Orders, 1942 and 1944, but a practice has become widespread, though not universal, whereby customers employ and pay servants of the check trading companies to collect their instalments. This seemed an undesirable state of affairs more especially as these collection charges are not subject to any Statutory control. My right hon. Friend accordingly decided that the right course would be to allow poundage to be charged at a controlled rate and at the same time so to strengthen the orders as to prohibit the payment or acceptance of any other collection charges whatsoever. The rate will be 1s. in the £, which was the amount ordinarily charged before the war. My right hon. Friend is satisfied, after an inquiry into the trading results of a representative group of check traders and after considering the representations made to him, that this is no more than adequate having regard to legitimate costs. An order giving effect to this decision will be made very shortly. From what I have said I think it will be clear that this does not involve any addition to facilities for buying goods on credit.