HC Deb 11 July 1961 vol 644 cc201-3
32. Mr. Oram

asked the President of the Board of Trade what steps he proposes to take to deal with the problem of containers which deceive the public as to the quantity of their contents.

33. Mr. Holman

asked the President of the Board of Trade what provisions will be made in the forthcoming weights and measures legislation to permit commodities to be sold by weight, including an allowance for the weight of the wrapper; and if he will list the commodities.

36 and 37. Mrs. Slater

asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) whether the Weights and Measures (No. 2) Bill will require that the net weight of pre-packed fruit and vegetables should be given as the weight obtaining at the time of packing or at the time of retail sale;

(2) whether the Weights and Measures (No. 2) Bill will require that the net weight of meat be given both before and after boning in cases where boning takes place before delivery.

Mr. Maudling

I should be grateful if hon. Members would await the Bill which I hope to be able to introduce within a week or so.

Mr. Oram

Does the right hon. Gentleman recall saying in relation to Question No. 8 that he is willing to consider any suggestion for speeding up our procedure? Since the Hodgson Committee reported on weights and measures recommendations more than ten years ago, would he be willing to consider suggestions for speeding up procedure in this matter? Does not he consider it deplorable that, after being badgered year after year on this matter, even when Parliament did get a Bill during this Session it was so badly bungled that now we are faced with another year of delay?

Mr. Maudling

I am happy at any time to consider useful suggestions to speed up procedure, but I cannot accept the description of the Bill given by the hon. Member.

Mrs. Slater

Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that there is a great deal of truth in the substance of my hon. Friend's Question and that the consumers cannot go on indefinitely waiting for protection in the form of weights and measures legislation as outlined in the Question? What hope have we that during the next twelve months we shall not have the same answer as we have been given during this twelve months—that we must wait and see what the Government are prepared to do?

Mr. Maudling

The discussion in another place has shown how extremely complicated is this subject. The views of a number of interested parties were not put forward until a late stage. I hope that, as the result of the publication of the new Bill and the discussions we have had, the advice we have received will enable us to have a better Bill.

Mr. Holman

Why cannot the Government expedite the Bill by sitting for a longer period and returning earlier from the Summer Recess to get on with the work?

Mr. Maudling

So far as that question has not been answered, it is one which should be addressed to my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House.

Mr. Jay

Can the President say whether the No. 2 Bill will start its course in this House or in the House of Lords? If it starts in the House of Lords, can he give an assurance that the Leader of the House will not drop it and introduce Bill No. 3?

Mr. Speaker

Order. That is a question which the Minister cannot answer.