HC Deb 16 December 1952 vol 509 cc1163-4
1. Miss Burton

asked the President of the Board of Trade what action is proposed by Her Majesty's Government to prevent exploitation of the general public by undue price rises during the Coronation period; and whether he will consider setting up a committee, representative of all interests, to consider the matter and make recommendations.

The Secretary for Overseas Trade (Mr. H. R. Mackeson)

I do not accept the hon. Member's suggestion that undue price rises are to be expected in the Coronation period. I have dealt in previous replies to Questions with allegations of excessive charges by hotels, and my right hon. and gallant Friend the Minister of Food on 26th November dealt with a Question by the hon. Member suggesting that there might be an undue rise in food prices. I see no need for further action on the lines suggested, and I am sure we can rely on the good sense of all concerned to prove the hon. Member's fears of exploitation unfounded.

Miss Burton

Is the Minister aware that a Bradford bus owner bringing a bus load of 33 people to London, who normally stay at a Streatham hotel charging 24s. a day all-in, has been asked for a figure of £3 a day minimum and for a minimum booking of seven days? Is he also aware that an agency in London states that the Grosvenor House charges are to be doubled for the five-day period, that the Park Lane prices are to be nearly doubled, including viewing accommodation, and that the Piccadilly Hotel charges are to go up by three-fifths?

Does the Minister realise that I have given him these figures in view of his reply and the fact that the Chairman of the Coronation Committee said he knew of only one price rise of 50 per cent.? In view of these figures, will the hon. Gentleman reconsider his decision?

Mr. Mackeson

I shall be very pleased to look into the first case mentioned by the hon. Lady. The information I received from the Coronation Committee in connection with the others does not tally with the hon. Lady's statement, but, as I told her, we are quite prepared to look into these cases.

Mr. Bottomley

Is the Minister aware that for the Festival of Britain there were few or no complaints compared with those we are receiving today? Can the hon. Gentleman say why the same committee that ran the accommodation for the Festival is not doing it now?

Mr. Mackeson

I do not think the two are comparable. We are most anxious, I am sure, on both sides of the House to see that no damage is done to our tourist trade.