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Small Traders (Supplies)

Volume 380: debated on Wednesday 17 June 1942

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asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he has considered the statement prepared by the Cheltenham Chamber of Commerce and sent to him on the question of a more equitable allocation of supplies to the small retailer; and what action he proposes to take thereon?

I have read the statement to which my hon. Friend refers, but for the reasons given in my reply to a similar Question by my hon. Friend on 10th June, my right hon. Friend could not undertake to guarantee a definite share of available supplies to each retail trader.

Does the reply mean that while my hon. and gallant Friend is not able to accept this scheme, he is not prepared to put forward alternative proposals?

We feel that arrangements we have by which who salers are asked to share out their supplies reasonably fairly is by and large meeting the position.

Would my hon. and gallant Friend at least once more draw the attention of wholesalers to the fact that small retailers feel they are not getting their fair share and ask them to do what the Government have asked them to do?

I am only too anxious to do that in any specific case. A general request of that kind would be without effect, but if my hon. Friend will give me definite instances of areas in which the retailers are suffering I will most certainly take it up with the wholesalers.