HC Deb 27 March 1945 vol 409 cc1312-3
52. Mr. Petherick

asked the Prime Minister whether a decision has yet been reached by the Government as to setting up a court of monopolies or some similar body to examine or otherwise to deal with cartels and monopolies.

The President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Dalton)

I have been asked to reply. The form of legislation necessary to give effect to the policy contained in paragraph 54 of the White Paper on Employment Policy is now being worked out.

Mr. Petheriek

Although it is very necessary to control forms of monopoly, including that of the Executive, is it not for Parliament to deal with matters of this kind, and not a court, for which there is no precedent so far as I am aware, except that of the Star Chamber?

Sir A. Southby

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there is in the public mind, not without reason, a fear that the cartel system would form, in peace, a system of economic and financial dictatorship, just as evil as the political dictatorship aimed at by Hitler and the Axis?

Mr. Dalton

I have heard that view expressed.

Mr. Levy

Is my right hon. Friend aware that if he allows the monopoly system to continue, we shall have industrial autocracy, and not private enterprise as we understand it?

Mr. De la Bère

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that he should do something about it speedily?

Sir Geoffrey Mander

Will the right hon. Gentleman introduce this legislation after Easter and before Whitsun?

Mr. Dalton

Not before Easter.