HC Deb 22 March 1956 vol 550 cc1442-3
11. Miss Burton

asked the President of the Board of Trade to what extent it is now the policy of Her Majesty's Government to conduct inquiries into the distributive costs of consumer goods generally, in view of the decision to order an inquiry into the distributive costs of coal.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

The Government do not intend to institute inquiries unless there is good reason for doing so in particular cases.

Miss Burton

Would the right hon. Gentleman agree that they seem to have rather a selective system? Is he aware that we on these benches have been pressing for some time for an inquiry into distributive costs on some foods? Will he say whether or not it will be the Government's policy to have such an inquiry?

Mr. Thorneycroft

The Government have no intention of instituting a roving inquiry over all distribution costs. If there is a special case in some particular instance, that would be considered, as in the case of coal or the Committee on Horticultural Marketing, which covers fruit and vegetables and which will include some investigation of distribution costs. We are not contemplating some general inquiry.