HC Deb 15 March 1951 vol 485 cc1741-2
19. Mr. Leather

asked the Minister of Health what action he proposes to take regarding the Monopolies Commission Report on the Dental Industry.

28. Mr. Wilkes

asked the Minister of Health what action he intends to take on the Report by the Monopoly Commission on Dental Goods in order to lower the costs incurred by the National Health Service in respect of these goods.

Mr. Marquand

I hope to lay before the House within the next few days an Order under Section 10 of the Monopolies and Restrictive Practices (Inquiry and Control) Act, 1948. I hope that elimination of the practices which at present restrict competition in the dental trade will result in a reduction of prices.

Mr. Leather

Would the Minister not agree with the opinion of the Commission that it is wrong to prohibit in one industry what is allowed in other industries? Would he therefore tell us whether he is prepared to recommend to his colleagues that they should grasp the nettle and ban all collective boycotts?

Mr. Marquand

I would not agree that it is right to permit an abuse to continue merely because it is widespread, and in any case the majority of the Commission recommended immediate action.

Mr. Keeling

Does not the Minister agree that he should await the report on three or four industries in order that there may be a co-ordinated policy?

Mr. Marquand

No, Sir. If a burglar breaks into my house I do not ask the police to wait until 10 other cases have occurred.

Mr. Wilkes

As many requests have been made to the Minister to reduce the cost of the Health Service, does he not agree that the implementation of some of the recommendations by the Monopoly Commission on Dental Goods would tend to have that welcome effect?

Mr. Marquand

I am sure it will.