HC Deb 02 February 1961 vol 633 cc1167-8
13. Mr. Gresham Cooke

asked the President of the Board of Trade from what bodies he has now received oral evidence with regard to resale price maintenance in addition to written replies to his questionnaire; whether he proposes to extend the inquiry to Canada, the United States of America and other countries where experience of value in this field is available; and whether he will give an assurance that, before reaching any final decision as to whether it is necessary to amend at this stage the relevant section of the Restrictive Trade Practices Act, he will issue a fully summary of the results of the inquiry.

Mr. Maudling

As this inquiry is confidential I do not propose to publish a list of organisations that have given evidence. Information has been obtained from Canada and the United States and inquiries have been made in Sweden. I shall bear in mind what my hon. Friend says about publishing the results of the inquiry.

30. Mr. Ridley

asked the President of the Board of Trade what evidence he has received, in the course of his inquiry into resale price maintenance, regarding the effect of such agreements on the retail price of petrol.

Mr. Maudling

Evidence on this subject has been tendered by a number of suppliers of petroleum products and by distributors.

Mr. Ridley

Can my right hon. Friend say what margin of profit petrol retailers make per gallon of petrol and whether he is satisfied that this is in fact as low as it should be?

Mr. Maudling

I doubt whether there is Ministerial responsibility on that point, but as my hon. Friend knows the Monopolies Commission has started an inquiry into what is known as the "solus site" system, which is a matter that has given rise to some disquiet. I hope that the inquiry will produce useful information.

33. Mr. Stonehouse

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will give the results of his investigations in resale price maintenance.

Mr. Maudling

The inquiry is not yet complete.

Mr. Stonehouse

Will the right hon. Gentleman say whether he is making approaches to consumer organisations to get their opinions, and also whether he is making special investigations into the pricing arrangements of the car industry with particular reference to the sale of accessories? Is he aware that these are too highly priced?

Mr. Maudling

I answered a Question last week saying that we had been in touch with the extremely valuable and important consumer organisations. So far as motor cars are concerned, our inquiry covers all forms of price maintenance.