HC Deb 23 July 1956 vol 557 c12
16. Mr. Holt

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he is aware of the existence of restrictive trade practices in the nationalised industries for which he is responsible; and if he will give a general direction to those industries to assist the Government in its policy of bringing to an end restrictive trade practices which are against the public interest.

Mr. Aubrey Jones

In so far as the nationalised industries enter into restrictive agreements, they will be subject, like other industries, to the provisions of the Restrictive Trade Practices Bill except, of course, in the case of agreements expressly authorised by statute. In these circumstances, I do not think that the question of issuing a general direction arises.

Mr. Holt

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Liberal Party has no objection whatever to people expressing their opinions but is concerned when the implication is the carrying out in a nationalised industry of a policy which is quite contrary to the avowed policy of the Government, and does he not agree that this kind of thing is a subject on which a general direction should be given? If he does not agree on this or on detailed control, would he say exactly what control he is having over nationalised industries?

Mr. Jones

As a non-Liberal but as a member of the Government, I would dispute the implication of the hon. Gentleman.