asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he will see, in future, in issuing any orders to shopkeepers, that sufficient time is allowed for such orders to reach the branch establishments of each firm, thereby providing against the possibility of offences being committed unwittingly?
My Noble Friend fully appreciates the point which my hon. Friend makes. In general, adequate time is allowed between the making of an Order and the date on which it comes into force for all concerned to obtain copies of the Order, except when there are good reasons why prior information should not be given. Full publicity is, however, always given by means of Press and broadcast announcements and, in appropriate cases, by notification direct to each licensed retailer. Copies of all Orders are available for inspection in food offices immediately after they come into force.
Will the hon. Gentleman be good enough to instruct his officers that Orders must not come into effect be fore they have reached branch establishments?
Yes, Sir. It is the intention that that should be done.
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that occasionally when amending and consolidating Orders are issued, introducing not much change, they are so lengthy that it takes shopkeepers hours before they can understand them? Will he arrange to issue an explanatory note on an Order of that kind?
We always issue a Press announcement which I think covers that point. As my hon. Friend is aware, the other matter is under review at the moment.
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether in pursuance of the Government undertaking to simplify the purport of official Regulations, he can state how the Food (Local Distribution) Order, No. 291, 1943, modifies existing practice; and what are the objections to making the prescribed changes clear to retailers by the issue of an explanatory memorandum?
This Order modified existing practice by providing that retailers' licences were in future to be issued in the name of the Minister of Food instead of in the name of the local food control committees. The change was made clear to retailers by explanatory notices issued from the local food offices.