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Utility Furniture (Manufacturers' Licences)

Volume 387: debated on Tuesday 2 March 1943

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asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that Messrs. Zinkins, of Mare Street, Hackney, who were fined for evading the Purchase Tax regulations, and Mr. H. Lazarus, of Stamford Hill, N., who was fined for failing to disclose foreign securities, have been granted licences for the manufacture of utility furniture; and whether he will give instructions for these licences to be revoked?

These two firms were selected for utility furniture production, after consultation with the trade associations and trade unions concerned, because they were leading manufacturers among those available in the East London area. I have given careful consideration to these two cases, but I am not prepared to revoke the licences for reasons which do not affect the efficiency of these firms as furniture manufacturers.

Does the right hon. Gentleman think it right to give preferential treatment—for that is what it amounts to—to people who have been convicted of offences against the State in war-time?

I have already told the hon. Member that these selections were made after careful consultation with the trade interests concerned. We must have some manufacturers in this area. These two firms are said by my advisers, and by the trade associations concerned, to be good manufacturers.