HC Deb 12 March 1941 vol 369 cc1268-9
22. Mr. Leach

asked the Minister of Transport whether his attention has been drawn to the exorbitant prices for new and second-hand motor-cars now being demanded by dealers, many of whom are speculating in these goods because of the high profit now possible; and, as most of the purchasers are people who require motor-cars for occupational purposes, and cannot afford the high prices demanded, will he consider instituting price control of motor vehicles?

Mr. Montague

I am aware that in some cases excessive prices have been charged by dealers both for new and second-hand motor-cars, although some new cars have been sold at manufacturers' list prices. Control of the prices of the few new cars available would have little practical effect, while control of prices of second-hand cars present serious difficulties—both on account of widely differing conditions of car-worthiness and on administrative grounds. My right hon. Friend is therefore not satisfied that price control is justified, but he will always be ready to look into any established instances in which excessive prices are demanded and to take such action as is possible and appears to be warranted.

Mr. Leach

Will my hon. Friend go further into this matter and, if he discovers that profiteering is wholesale and almost universal, take some measures to deal with it?

Mr. Montague

Certainly, Sir.

Mr. Sorensen

Cannot a pre-war standard of prices be established for second-hand cars?

Mr. Montague

That is a difficulty which I pointed out in my answer—the difference in the conditions of the cars when sold. We will look into the question very closely.

Mr. McGhee

Is it not true that the motor trade has had a standard of prices for second-hand cars for years?