HC Deb 05 April 1951 vol 486 cc366-7
29. Mr. Paget

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether the Central Price Regulation Committee have completed their review of price controls which have been removed; and whether he can now make a statement on the position.

Mr. H. Wilson

The Central Price Regulation Committee have now reviewed most of the price controls over consumer goods (other than food) which have been removed since 1945. The Committee have reported that, in general, price increases since decontrol have not been excessive having regard to rises in raw material prices and other costs. In the case of certain classes of goods, however, which are the subject of a more detailed statement which I am circulating in the OFFICIAL REPORT they have reached the conclusion, after consideration of all the circumstances, that it will be necessary in the near future to re-introduce price control either on a statutory or on a voluntary basis. I am now taking steps to give effect to their recommendations.

Following is the statement:

The classes of goods in respect of which the Central Price Regulation Committee have recommended that price control either on a statutory or on a voluntary basis should be introduced are:

Domestic hollow-ware made of aluminium, copper, brass, plated and stainless steel.

Hardware and ironmongery (including cutlery, spoons and forks, brooms and brushes) and other articles not normally fitted by trade craftsmen.

Surgical dressings.

Narrow fabrics.

Toilet paper and other essential paper goods.

Discussions are now taking place or will shortly commence with the trades concerned as to the most suitable form of control in each case.

For radio valves and for articles of hardware and ironmongery normally fitted by trade craftsmen, the Committee consider that it would be sufficient for the present to secure an undertaking from the manufacturers concerned not to advance prices without prior consultation with the Committee, and the manufacturers are being approached accordingly. In the case of domestic cooking, refrigerating, heating, cleaning and washing appliances, the Committee have decided to open discussions with the industries concerned in order to work out with them a suitable form of price control which could be put into operation without delay should the need arise. Statutory control over distributors' margins for knitting wools was reimposed at the beginning of this year; and manufacturers prices are now controlled under an agreement concluded in February between the Central Price Regulation Committee and the trade associations concerned. The Committee hope to complete their review shortly.