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War Economy

Setting up in Business

page 516

Setting up in Business

Considerable assistance was given to ex-servicemen who wished to establish themselves in businesses. In the early years of demobilisation, transport undertakings proved particularly popular as own-account businesses for ex-servicemen, and in 1945 the Rehabilitation Board wrote:1

‘For ex-servicemen wishing to re-establish themselves in civil life by the acquisition of their own businesses the field of transport is proving most popular. In point of fact, more ex-servicemen have been assisted into this field than in any other except farming….

‘Because of the supply position, the difficulty of obtaining suitable transport vehicles has been a serious obstacle to ex-servicemen. Arrangements have been made amongst the Rehabilitation Department, the War Assets Realisation Board, and the Transport Licensing Authorities whereby the Transport Licensing Authorities allocate all new and ex-service trucks and vans in accordance with certain priorities necessary to keep essential transport moving, and with due and full regard to the claims of ex-servicemen properly approved and recommended by the Rehabilitation Department.

‘The allocation of second-hand cars, ex-War Assets Realisation Board, available for ex-servicemen is made by the Rehabilitation Department, and those suitable for taxi or passenger transport services go to ex-servicemen applicants for those businesses. Very few cars are now left for release through the War Assets Realisation Board. Negotiations have commenced for ex-servicemen to receive proper distribution of new cars as they become available.’

In its 1947 report, the Board referred to a ‘large unsatisfied demand for businesses of various types from some 1,900 ex-servicemen who have indicated their requirements to the Rehabilitation Department’.2

Nearly 11,500 business loans were authorised for ex-servicemen who wished to set up in business; 3800 of these were for transport undertakings, 1400 for building and related trades, 1100 for professional services, 1700 for retail stores, and 3500 for other types of businesses. In its 1958 report, the Board wrote:3

‘All except 13 of the 11,495 loans concerned were granted to ex-servicemen of World War II. The loans have been made in respect of businesses ranging from small suburban shops and page 517 one-man businesses to larger-scale organisations in which several qualified ex-servicemen have formed themselves into limited liability companies. The majority have been successful and it has only been necessary to write off less than 1 per cent of the total amount approved.’

Some industries were subject to licensing after the war, and in many cases ex-servicemen were assisted by giving them preference in the issue of licences. Up to 1958, 5300 transport licences had been issued to ex-servicemen, 400 petrol reselling licences, and 140 licences for other industries.

While rationing was in existence, ex-servicemen were assisted by giving them preferences for rationed goods. More than 2000 were assisted to obtain adequate quotas of rationed goods, and over 1000 cars and light trucks, imported under special licences, were allocated to ex-servicemen in the transport industry. The Board also sponsored applications for import licences, and over 1600 licences were granted on its recommendations.

Except in special circumstances, rehabilitation assistance to establish ex-servicemen in their own businesses came to an end in 1958.

1 H–18, p. 4.

2 p. 5.

3 p. 9.