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Concentration Of Industry

Volume 387: debated on Tuesday 23 March 1943

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38.

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, before any trade or industry is controlled and concentrated, he will publish, for the information of the public, an explanation of what is proposed and why it is necessary, especially as they have never been properly informed of the reasons for closing many small but important industries?

As my hon. and gallant Friend is aware, an explanation of the reasons for the policy of concentration of production was published in Command Paper No. 6258 of 1941. Before any particular industry is concentrated, the reasons are explained to representatives of the industry, and details discussed with them.

Has the right hon. Gentleman considered setting out for the information of the public the reasons for the concentration of industry, because in spite of what has been said many people do not know, and many of the individuals concerned do not understand why?

The general reasons for the concentration of industry were explained in a Command Paper issued by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Production when he initiated this policy as President of the Board of Trade. The reasons are very simple; they are to release labour, to save materials and to enable factory buildings to be used for other purposes. In the particular instance of any trade we discuss the reasons not with the public generally but with the trade itself.

Are not the methods in force very arbitrary, and would it not be possible to give a little more enlightenment on this subject? The position is not very satisfactory.