HC Deb 13 June 1921 vol 143 cc6-7
5 and 7. Colonel NEWMAN

asked the President of the Board of Trade, (1) whether his attention has been called to the restraint of freedom of commerce, and consequent enhancement of the price of commodities to the consumer, caused by the practice of trusts and combines, both international and British, to grant rebates of 10 per cent. to the retail purchaser or middleman if he will pledge himself not to do business with any rival concerns that are outside the trust, combine, or ring; does he intend to ask for powers to make such rebates invalid and punishable;

(2) whether he will seek powers to so modify the law that a manufacturer shall not be able to obtain judgment for the payment of an account under a contract containing restrictive clauses or discounts for exclusive custom unless the Court, after considering all the circumstances, considers the terms of the contract as fair both towards the retailer, the middleman, and the purchasing public?


Arrangements of the kind to which my hon. and gallant Friend refers are not infrequent. Proposals for legislation on the lines indicated by him raise large and difficult questions of policy, on which I am not at present prepared to make any pronouncement, but the matter will be carefully considered in connection with any future legislation in respect of trusts and combinations.

Colonel NEWMAN

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in New Zealand the Commercial Trust Laws prohibit this practice, and that in China it could be punished with 40 blows?