HC Deb 13 March 1952 vol 497 cc1542-3
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.
  • Matches.
  • 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).
  • 1544
  • 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:

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.

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