§ 10. Mrs. Barbara Castle
asked the President of the Board of Trade what articles have been freed from price control by his Department since the present Government took office.
§ Mr. P. Thorneycroft
With the hon. Member's permission, I will circulate a list in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
§ Mrs. Castle
Does the right hon. Gentleman's reply indicate that the list is so extensive that it has to be published rather than read out in this House, and will he not agree that at a time when, by cutting imports, we are reducing supplies, this is another betrayal of the Government's promise in the Election to keep down the cost of living and to protect the consumer?
§ Mr. Thorneycroft
I am glad to say that the list involves some 27 classes of goods. It was put into effect by seven Orders. In many cases the prices have gone down rather than up. The whole operation was carried out in consultation with the Central Price Regulation Committee.
§ Mrs. Castle
Can the right hon. Gentleman give the House some examples where prices have gone down and an indication of what guarantee he has that they will not go up as a result of the policy of the Government?
§ Captain J. A.. Duncan
Was not the object of de-controlling these articles to encourage competition and thus reduce prices?
§ Mr. A. G. Bottomley
In present circumstances, if necessary, would the right hon. Gentleman re-introduce price control?
§ Mr. Thorneycroft
Certainly. I will watch the position constantly. If there were a need for price control we should impose it; but it is foolish to use price control when market conditions do not call for it.
Following is the list:A. Goods controlled by Maximum Price Orders made under the Goods and Services (Price Control) Act, 1941, and under Defence Regulation 55AB:
- Certain non-utility apparel.
- Knitting wools.
- Standard wedding rings.
- Alarm clocks.
- Watch straps and chains sold separately from watches.
- Office stationery, stationers' sundries and pen nibs.
- Portable lamps of all descriptions not operated by electricity or gas (except miners' safety lamps).
- Lighting fittings of a kind used for interior domestic or office lighting, otherwise than by electricity or gas.
- X-ray plates and films.
§ B. Goods formerly controlled under the Prices of Goods (Price Regulated Goods) Order:
- Miscellaneous floor coverings other than carpets and linoleum and printed felt base.
- Dictaphones, calculating machines and other office machinery and cash registers.
- Containers (crates, boxes, bags, cartons, bottles, etc.).
- Paint, distemper, stain, varnish and lacquer.
- Household soaps and soap made up for sale as toilet soap.
- Wrapping paper.
- Paraffin oil, kerosene and turpentine sold by retail for domestic use.
- Hand tools for use by workpeople in the course of their trade.
- Hand-propelled and mechanically-propelled invalid carriages, invalid chairs and invalid tricycles.
- Spectacles and spectacle cases, lorgnettes, pince-nez, monocles and spy glasses.
- Sanitary towels and substitutes therefor.
- Industrial threads and some domestic sewing cottons and threads.
- Home-manufactured carpets other than price control group carpets and coir and sisal mats and matting.
- Oil baize, oil cloth and leather cloth.
- Ropes and twines.
- Sewing machines, component parts thereof and accessories therefor.
- Feathers and down and other upholstery stuffing materials.
§ Note: The prices of certain of these goods remain subject to non-statutory arrangements between the suppliers and the Central Price Regulation Committee or the Board of Trade.