HC Deb 02 February 1960 vol 616 cc768-9
8. Mr. Osborne

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will appoint a committee to investigate costs of distribution, both in money and manpower, and to make recommendations for reducing the gap between production costs and the prices paid by the public: and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Amory

I doubt whether such a committee would produce useful results on such a general matter. The best way of ensuring efficiency and economy in distribution costs is through healthy fair competition, and that is what we are anxious to encourage.

Mr. Osborne

Since out of 23¼million people engaged in civilian employment 7 million are in the distributive, finance and miscellaneous groups, and in view of the staggering differences in some trades between factory prices and shop prices, does not my right hon. Friend think that something might be done to narrow those gaps and so reduce the cost of living?

Mr. Amory

I am all for a great many things being done to narrow those gaps as far as possible, but what I take leave to doubt is whether the setting up of a committee to consider a very general matter such as this would produce specific results.

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