HC Deb 26 July 1951 vol 491 cc612-3
1. Miss Burton

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is now in a position to give further information concerning the establishment of a consumer advice centre.

3. Mr. W. T. Williams

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will make a further statement with regard to the setting up of a consumers' council for the protection of shoppers.

The President of the Board of Trade (Sir Hartley Shawcross)

I have given very careful thought to the proposal to set up a consumer advisory service, and have concluded that it would be necessary to hold a full and detailed inquiry into what should be the functions of such a service and how it could best be organised to produce effective results with due regard to economy. Such an inquiry could best take the form of a Departmental Committee.

At present, my Department is heavily engaged in matters of more immediate concern, and it would be difficult to establish a Committee which would impose further calls on the time of the people concerned. I have, however, decided to set up a Departmental Committee in due course and will do so as soon as it can conveniently be arranged, consistently with my Department's other commitments.

Miss Burton

While thanking my right hon. and learned Friend for the best answer we have had on this problem to date, may I ask if he is aware that consumers and manufacturers of reputable goods would wish such a service to be set up? Will my right hon. and learned Friend therefore try to expedite its setting up?

Sir H. Shawcross

I will bear those considerations in mind.

Sir Herbert Williams

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman take particular care that the terms of reference make sure that the services and goods supplied by nationalised industries will come under the review of this council?

Sir H. Shawcross

I think that is a very fair question.