HC Deb 02 December 1952 vol 508 cc1277-8
53. Mr. Osborne

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that the manufacture of all woolcombing plant and worsted spinning machinery is now in the hands of a single group and appears to approach a monopoly that constitutes a danger; and if he will consider referring this matter to the Monopolies Commission for their consideration.

Mr. H. Strauss

Without expressing any view on the matters alleged in the first part of the Question, my right hon. Friend will bear this suggestion in mind in considering subjects for reference to the Commission.

Mr. Osborne

Is my hon. and learned Friend aware that this statement was made by Lord Barnby, who is one of the soundest and most influential men in the woollen industry, and will he give this matter urgent consideration in view of the gravity of the statement?

Mr. H. Hynd

Is the hon. and learned Gentleman aware that similar considerations apply to cotton spinning machinery where there is heavy unemployment at the present time?

Mr. Strauss

That question is quite different from the Question on the Order Paper, but generally, if there is a possibility of a matter being referred to the Commission, it is not desirable to express a view on the merits in advance.

Mr. Bottomley

In view of the pressure from the back benchers on the Government side, is that an indication that we can anticipate early legislation on monopolies?

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