TRADUNIC, SOWEST, LONDON.
TRADES UNION CONGRESS
H. VINCENT TEWSON, C.B.E., M.C.
TO WHOM ALL COMMUNICATIONS SHOULD BE ADDRESSED.
DEPARTMENT Trades Councils'
OUR REF. VT/RB/KMC/38.
23rd September, 1948.
In reply please quote:
CIRCULAR No. 4 (1948-49)
TO THE SECRETARIES OF ALL TRADES COUNCILS AND FEDERATIONS OF TRADES COUNCILS
Dear Sir (Madam),
BLACK MARKET OFFENCES
At the Annual Conference of Trades Councils at Derby in June, a resolution was discussed dealing with black market operations in essential food and consumer goods and calling for the imposition of prison sentences for the more serious offences. This resolution, with the agreement of the Conference, was remitted to the T.C.J.C.C. for further consideration. No vote was taken on it since it had not been well worded - it called for a change in the law on the subject, when what the movers intended was a more rigorous administration of the existing law.
In reviewing this resolution, the General Council had in mind the statement made on their behalf at the Conference that "in 1947 the number of convictions for offences against food regulations was 24,265, and in only 848 was imprisonment ordered. The number of persons involved in these cases was 184 and of these 17 were sent to prison for more than six months. In 22,836 cases fines were inflicted, but in only 1,525 was the amount over £20." The General Council have also had under consideration the recommendation of the T.C.J.C.C. that before representations were made to the Government on this question fuller evidence should be secured from all Trades Councils about recent administration of the law in their own areas relating to black market cases, if any.
The General Council accepted this recommendation, and accordingly, all Trades Councils are now invited to submit full details of black market offences in their areas which they consider have been punished inadequately. The information which the General Council will require about these cases will include the title of the Magistrates Court, the date of the trial, whether judgment was given by a stipendiary magistrate or by justices of the peace, and particulars of the offence(s) and the sentence(s). Press cuttings bearing the name of the newspaper and the date would also be useful.