§ 37. Miss Burton
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is now in a position to announce the result of his discussions with the trade associations in so far as the amendment of the Hire-Purchase Act, 1954, is concerned; or when he expects to be able to do so.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade (Mr. Derek Walker-Smith)
Preliminary discussions with trade associations on the subject of hire-purchase advertising have taken place, and my right hon. Friend is considering the views which they have put forward; as he stated in reply to a supplementary question arising out of the hon. Member's Question on 10th November, action to deal with advertisements would, however, require legislation.
§ Miss Burton
Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that that reply gets us no further than did the previous one? Is he also aware that we shall not get anywhere on this matter until all hire-purchase traders are compelled by law to state, in advertisements and on the goods, the cash price, the hire-purchase price, the number of instalments and the amount of each instalment? Is he prepared to do something about that?
§ Mr. Walker-Smith
In reply to the first part of the Question, I think that if the hon. Lady refers to the previous Question which she has asked and the Answer given thereto she will agree that we are making progress in this matter. Advertising is a technical field in which it is right to give proper consideration to the representations that have been made following the discussions. As she is aware, protection already exists for the actual agreements under the Hire-Purchase Acts.
§ 38. Mr. H. Hynd
asked the President of the Board of Trade what action he is taking to combat the evasion of the regulations regarding hire-purchase deposits 1255 by retailers who are using the subterfuge of letting customers have goods on a rental basis.
§ Mr. Walker-Smith
Investigations are being made into ostensible rental agreements which may be in breach of the Hire-Purchase and Credit Sale Agreements (Control) Order, 1955, and the Board of Trade intend to prosecute whenever there is evidence to warrant it.