HC Deb 26 July 1962 vol 663 cc1712-4
15. Mr. Darling

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will arrange to publish the Report of the Committee on Consumer Protection, or a summary of the committee's main recommendations, before the Ballot for Private Members' Bills is held in the next Session of Parliament.

25. Mrs. Barbara Castle

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in view of the need to restore confidence in the future of the Lancashire cotton industry, he will publish immediately the recommendations of the Molony Committee on the marking of cotton textile piece goods, household textiles and apparel with the country of origin.

Mr. Erroll

The final Report of the Molony Committee on Consumer Protection was published yesterday.

I would like to thank Mr. Molony and his Committee for their hard work in preparing this very interesting Report.

Mr. Darling

When I put this Question down I thought it would be published next week. Do I understand that it has been brought forward so that the Prime Minister can talk about it this afternoon? In view of the fact that the right hon. Gentleman has had it in his possession since April, I should like him to explain the reason for this long delay. I should like him to tell us, now the Report has been published, whether the Government intend to carry out the main recommendations in the next Session of Parliament? Will these recommendations take precedence over the Weights and Measures Bill which is urgently needed?

Mr. Erroll

I am sorry to say that there were some delays in printing the Report. We have tried to press on with it as quickly as possible and get the Report, published, if practicable, before the House rises for the Summer Recess. As I have been criticised earlier for failing to do so, I had hoped to be thanked for having got on with the job this time. As regards the recommendations in the Report, there is a very large number of recommendations which affect a large number of trades and businesses, and we are going to study the reactions of all parties affected before finally concluding what we should do.

Mrs. Castle

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Molony Committee's discussion of the point in my question is perfunctory and unconvincing? Is it not a fact that the public are unaware, when they buy cotton goods with famous names like Horrocks, they are in fact buying imported cloth? Will he take steps immediately to amend the Merchandise Marks Act to ensure that the country of origin of the original cloth is displayed on all finished articles and on all made-up textile cotton cloths?

Mr. Erroll

The Molony Report, in effect, recommends no change in the relevant part of the Merchandise Marks Act. This is a very complicated question, and a number of divergent interests are affected, but if the industry, as well as other parties affected, makes representations to me, I shall be very glad to consider them.

Mr. Jay

Have the Government deoided whether to accept the main recommendations of the Report or not?

Mr. Erroll

There are far too many recommendations in the Report for me to be able to give an answer to that question now. I have noticed speculative articles on the subject in the last day or two.

Mrs. Slater

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider doing with the Molony Report what the Government did with the Pilkington Report, and that is letting us have their ideas about it so that we shall know where the Government stand on the recommendations of this very important Report?

Mr. Erroll

I will bear in mind what the hon. Lady has said.