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Shop Hours (Proposed Legislation)

Volume 437: debated on Thursday 8 May 1947

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16 and 17.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (I1) whether he will publish the evidence given before the Gowers Committee on Shop Hours and make it available to Members of this House;

(2) if he is yet able to announce his intentions with respect to the report of the Gowers Committee on Shop Hours.

It is the intention of the Government to introduce, when opportunity offers, legislation on the lines proposed by the committee. The general effect of the evidence—which was voluminous—is carefully and impartially set out in the report, and in present circumstances I do not think the printing of the evidence could be justified.

Does my right hon. Friend not think that it is very essential for this House to have before it the evidence on which this report was based, because the report is certainly contrary to the views of those who have an intimate knowledge of shop life?

The report, which I have read, seems to me to set out impartially the evidence that was submitted on both sides. Many people claim to have a knowledge of shop life, but they do not all agree as to what it is like.

In view of the recommendations of the committee—while, of course, the public convenience must be considered above all else—will the right hon. Gentleman also take into consideration the circumstances of the shop assistants and the effect upon them?

In framing any legislation I may have to submit to the House I will bear in mind not merely the recommendations in the report, but the effect of this form of employment and activity on all sections of the community.