HC Deb 12 February 1953 vol 511 cc584-5
28. Mr. Beswick

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he has any further statement to make regarding a reference of the oil industry to the Monopolies Commission.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

No, Sir.

Mr. Beswick

Does that mean that the right hon. Gentleman has not yet completed his consideration, or that he has decided not to refer the matter?

Mr. Thorneycroft

No, Sir. The answer which was given before on this was that the question of this reference would be borne in mind in considering future matters for reference.

Mr. Beswick

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that this industry has now extended its monopolistic position from the oilfields to the filling pumps, and that, important as are some of the other matters referred to the Commission, they are chicken feed compared with this gigantic oil monopoly? Will not he therefore reconsider the matter?

Mr. Thorneycroft

Without prejudging the issue at all, I would point out that I have been questioned in some cases about the excessive competition of the petrol companies and the amount of individual advertising that is going on. That was the accusation made last week.

Mr. Chetwynd

Has the right hon. Gentleman's attention been drawn to the report of the Comptroller and AuditorGeneral about the similarity in the prices charged for petrol used by the Forces?

Mr. Thorneycroft

That would come up for consideration if the matter were referred.

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