HC Deb 15 July 1920 vol 131 c2588
48. Colonel NEWMAN

asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been called to the recent passing under foreign control of British firms, such as Boots and Company; whether any licence or sanction of a Government Department has first to be obtained; and, if not, whether danger of unfair competition to the small trader and monopoly and consequent high prices to the public renders some safeguard advisable?


I have been asked to answer this question. I have seen Press statements as to the particular transaction to which my hon. and gallant Friend refers, but no licence or authorisation from any Government Department is necessary in such a case. As regards the last part of the question, I can only say developments of this kind will be carefully watched.


Can we have any sort of guarantee that this last new combine will not arrange to squeeze out all the small traders by refusing to deal with them, as was the case with the tobacco monopoly?


I will refer that point to the Board of Trade.