HC Deb 06 July 1954 vol 529 cc1956-7
27. Mr. Emrys Hughes

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will request the Monopolies Commission to investigate and report on the whisky industry in view of the fact that one group of distillers provide more than one-third of the total output of whisky for this country.

Mr. H. Strauss

My right hon. Friend will bear this in mind when he selects further matters for reference to the Monopolies Commission.

Mr. Hughes

Can the hon. and learned Gentleman give an assurance that this matter will not be subject to the censorship of the 1922 Committee?

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

Can my hon. and learned Friend explain how a group which controls only one-third of the output of the industry can possibly be considered to be a monopoly?

Mr. Strauss

That, curiously enough, is possible under the Statute.

Mr. Stokes

Assuming the Minister's decision to be favourable, namely, that this matter will be investigated by the Monopolies Commission, whatever may be the facts with regard to the home trade, will he bear in mind the fact that export whisky, especially to dollar areas, is virtually a monopoly and that, as a consequence, the Americans pay only one dollar 10 cents now as compared with one dollar before the war? That is about 8s. Is it not time that this matter was put right and the distillers put in order?

Mr. Strauss

That is a little wide of the Question, but, if the matter does go to the Monopolies Commission, that Commission can hardly remain ignorant of the views of the right hon. Gentleman.