A History of the Ministry of Information, 1939-46



Objects of the Inquiry

The Board of Trade wanted to find out:-

  1. (a) To what extent articles other than food are bought on credit by the poorer groups of the population.

  2. (b) Whether a reduction in credit buying facilities would cause hardship for the lower paid working classes.


Three thousand and seventy-six working class women were interviewed in a house-to-house inquiry. (Questionnaire, Appendix 1)

The informants were chosen from two groups. Group D was defined as a group living in a poor neighborhood; group C, though working class, occupied better class houses. In each town all districts which included these groups were visited, also housing estates in these two categories.

Two hundred and fourteen shopkeepers were visited, (Questionnaire, Appendix 2). They represent a selected sample, insofar as the interviewer went into those shops in the district where she was working, which seemed to her most likely to allow their customers credit buying.

The main purpose of these shopkeeper interviews was to give the investigator a better knowledge of the circumstances under which local credit buying took place. The results of this part of the inquiry are analyzed and presented in Appendix 2.

The sample is satisfactory compared with the information the Wartime Social Survey has on the group distribution of the population in respect of family size geographical distribution and age. With regard to class, the sample was purposive from the outset, and an attempt was made to get the same number of interviews in the C and D groups. (Sample, Appendix 3).

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