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Political Notes




Direct Action for Nationalisation.


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I Merthyr Councillors -and…


I Merthyr Councillors and Profiteering ITRIBUNAL AND MARKETS ESTABLISHES. Interest at Tuesday's meeting of the Merthyr Corporation of instituting a profiteering tribunal. Mr. L. M. Francis, from the Labour benches, raised the matter of administrative cost, and he objected to what he described as Parliament putting these things in our hand and making us pay the cost." It was of no use for ratepayers to grumble at inflated rates if municipal authori- ties were to be saddled with such burdens. There was a divergence of opinion as to the efficacy of these proifteering committees, and there were those who held that the Government in creating them was beginning at the wrong end. All he could see to the present was that -such tribunals would only harass the small traders, and to < lie certainly would not be party. Were they given power to reach the wholesaler something effective might be done. Consequently he put forward a proposition that consideration of the appointment of the committee should be deferred for the town clerk to gather the necessary data. Town Clerk (Mr. T. A. Rees) This act is only in for six months. The Central Committee, he added, had power to deal with the wholesaler and the local committee could report any caM of suspected profiteering in this direction to that body. Mr. D. Parry (Labour) moved the appoint- ment of a committee and Mr. F. T. James seconded Mr. John Williams (Labour) read the situation as being that overcharges of a penny would bring swift retribution to the offender whilst "tie man who makes thousands-would be patted on the back." Mr. Wm. Jones (Treharris) thought that with- out talking about the wholesaler "they had enough to do to stop swindling going on in oof locality and in his opinion the committee would have their hands full. It was on small items that the public had to pay. He had been charged lOJ-d. on a pair of laces that he used to buy for a copper or so. He had been a bit cross at-reading that Merthyr was rather in- clined at a previous Corporation meeting to turt. down the creation of a committee. Alderman C. Griffiths (Labour) pnt Mr. Jones aright on this last point. They had not beea against setting up this tribunal, but it was felt that they had not sufficient information as to its function and administration, and so it was that it M as then opposed He was ip fax our of such a committee if something could be effected through it for the benefit of the people. Ihe biggest sinners were the wholesale firms, and so far as he knew in the grocery trade retailers often had no greater margin of profit than from 7 to 10 per cent. In other lines like drapery and boots he believed there was a great deal of pro- a l reat deal oi pro- fiteering being carried on retail. The Town Clerk interposed with the gratifying information tha.t fines inflicted in prosecutions would go to the fund of the tribunal. Mr. D. Davies (Labour) told of a friend who purchased a pair of boots for L2 18s. 6d. that has cost the vendor 25/ That's profiteering for you he ejaculated. Eventually it was decided to appoint a. com- mittee, Messrs. L. M. Francis and L. M. Jon voting as a minority agajust on principle," there being in their opinion no satisfactory knowledge of the financial consequences to the ratepayers. The membership was temporarily fixed at 15. Then followed the reception of a deputation from the Merthyr ex-service men with a request to the Corporation to sanction the holding of open-air markets. Permission was granted and the site of the St. David's School in High-street was placed at the ex-soldiers disposal with pro- mise of further spaces should they extend their activities to other parts of the borough. The deputation's spokesman stated that* they in- tended to get to business at once and were the Merthyr experiment a success, branch markets would be opened next at Dowlais and Treharris. I A PETITION TO THE GOVERNMENT. On the adoption of the minutes of the Watch Committee, Mr. A. Wilson (Labour) touched upon the problem of police-pay and prompted by a few of his colleagues framed his remarks in the form of a resolution, which should have far- reaching effect as to the proportion of State aid towards meeting the big wages increases granted under the Police Act. Mr. Wilson quoted the lucid report of the borough comptroller (Mr. W. R. Harris) showing that whereas Merthyr's force cost t7,982 in 1910, to-day the net cost was esti- mated to be £ 22,324 for the current year—prac- tically 300 per cent, advance. It would be seen that it was now necessary to levy zC5,000 more than the amount included in the estimate for the current year for police purposes, and this would mean an additional rate of 5d. in the j6, whilst to meet these increases there would be also a matter of ad, rate further each year. The townspeople should note when faced with the extra demand that the responsibility for the ad- vance was not that of tfie Corporation, but that of the Government, who accorded the wages in- creases to the policemen and called upon the various municipalities to pay half of the total cost. He did not deny for a moment that the police deserved their economic improvement, but he considered that it was full time, in the inter- est of municipal areas so heavily burdened in the matter of rates as Merthyr, that the Govern- ment realised their duty to make a far more generous contribution out of the Treasury funds towards the inflated police calls. His motion was that the Corporation should petition Parlia- ment to this effect. He was seconded by another Labour member. Alderman Enoch Wil- liams. On the motion of Aid. Griffith.s the meeting also agreed to request the Association of Muni- cipal Authorities to take similar action. I I MERTHYR'S WATER BILL. With reference to their proposed bill in Par- lianient relative to water supplies, the Corpora- tion considered that, having regard to the delay which would ensue in the event of negotiations being opened with other local authorities for the n • i I r 1 le v --1..

I The Iron Heel in Ireland.

I Bob and The Duke.