asked the Minister of Labour what is the number of people he estimates will be put out of employment as a result of the termination of the basic petrol ration.
I am unable to make such an estimate.
This is extraordinary. Are we to gather from that answer that the Government took this grave step so casually and so lightheartedly that they did not even examine what its repercussions were to be on our industrial economy?
I am not quite sure whether the running of petrol garages is a part of our industrial economy—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—I adhere to that statement—but so many of these places have been opened all over the country by individuals who are not registered at the Ministry of Labour that I have no information about them, and cannot get the information.
Is the Minister serious in the statement he has just made that he is not certain that the running of garages has anything to do with the industrial economy of this country? Is he serious?
I am serious in what I tried to convey to the House. I am asked about a lot of garages all over the country. We will get it right down to its basic principle. I am not satisfied that a little garage somewhere in some part of the country is essential to our industrial economy.
Is it not a fact that it is estimated that an amount of £300 million of business will be sacrificed due to the withdrawal of the basic ration?
I was asked a specific Question whether I could estimate the number of people unemployed. I have said that I am unable to answer that Question, and make that estimate, and I cannot be expected to answer questions outside that.