HC Deb 16 February 1961 vol 634 cc1758-9
40. Mr. de Freitas

asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware that farmers who wish to install bulk milk storage tanks have found that such tanks manufactured by different firms in different parts of the country and made of different materials are offered for sale at exactly the same price; and whether he will ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the President of the Board of Trade to investigate the matter with a view to referring it to the Monopolies Commission.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Macmillan)

I have seen Press reports to this effect. If there is evidence of an agreement between suppliers that should be on the Register of Restrictive Trade Agreements, it should be sent to the Registrar for consideration. Reference to the Monopolies Commission does not seem to me to be appropriate.

Mr. de Freitas

Is the Prime Minister aware that this practice penalises the most progressive people and that in the United States people are sent to jail for doing things like this? Can he say anything which would discourage people from indulging in these restrictive practices?

The Prime Minister

I understand that in the United States, as in this country, people are sent to prison for breaking the law of the land. I merely suggest that this should be more a matter for the Registrar, because it is prima facie a question about a possible price agreement. That comes under restrictive practices.