HC Deb 11 July 1961 vol 644 c203
34. Mr. Jay

asked the President of the Board of Trade what progress he has made in consultations about the Report of the Monopolies Commission on the tobacco industry.

35. Mr. Holt

asked the President of the Board of Trade what length of time he estimates will be required for consideration of the Report of the Monopolies Commission on the cigarette and tobacco industry before he can inform the House of the action he proposes to take on its recommendation.

Mr. Maudling

The trade interests concerned have been invited to submit their views as soon as they have had time to consider the report. I cannot estimate how long discussions with the interests concerned will take.

Mr. Jay

As this is an important issue on which I should have thought continued uncertainty undesirable, can the President say whether he can give a decision at least before the end of the month?

Mr. Maudling

I agree that it is an important issue, and that is why I do not want to announce the time of making a decision. I want to get the thing right rather than to give a decision too early.

Mr. Holt

Would the President agree that these case studies, though extremely useful, take a long time, and that there is a growing feeling that there is need for general legislation dealing with monopolies? Would he say what other cases are before the Commission and whether he can give a promise to the House that when there have been further studies—

Mr. Speaker

Order. The Questions are about tobacco and not about other cases. As to the first part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question, I cannot remember whether it was in order or not.