§ 31. Mr. John Lewis
asked the President of the Board of Trade what application has been made by Messrs. Little-woods for a coupon float to enable them to open the store in Deansgate, Bolton, now being converted for this purpose; and whether it is his intention to make an allocation of coupons.
§ Mr. Lewis
In view of the position that may arise if this retail store were allowed to open, which would have the effect of diverting essential labour from the cotton mills, will my right hon. Friend assure the House, having regard to the absence of consumer need in the area, that he will refuse the application for a coupon float if the application should be made?
§ Mr. Wilson
We normally only give a coupon float if we are sure that the firm is re-opening after having been closed during the war, or where consumer need is established. It is certain that neither of those conditions has been fulfilled in this case. As to the danger that the proposal to open the shop would draw female labour from the cotton mills, my hon. Friend is having discussions with the firm concerned to see that that does not occur.
§ 32. Mr. J. Lewis
asked the President of the Board of Trade how many applications for coupon floats have been made to his Regional Office by applicants in Bolton during the last 12 months; and how many have been refused.
§ Mr. H. Wilson
Sixty applications, of which 55 were for retail trade, one for making-up and four for wholesale, for coupon floats, have been made during the 1854 year to the Board of Trade regional office in Manchester by applicants in Bolton. Of these applications 13 have been granted, 14 refused, 29 have not been followed up by the applicants, and four are still pending.