HC Deb 28 June 1962 vol 661 cc1350-1
27. Sir C. Osborne

asked the President of the Board of Trade in view of the fact that it is six months since his Departmental inquiry into resale price maintenance was completed, what action he now proposes to take on the recommendations.

The President of the Board of Trade (Mr. F. J. Erroll)

I would refer my hon. Friend to the Answer which my hon. Friend gave on 26th June to the hon. Member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mr. Darling).

Sir C. Osborne

That is not good enough. Is my right hon. Friend aware that, although the chemists and other similar traders are worried that price maintenance may be abolished, many members of the public feel that this policy tends to keep up prices? A statement should be made by my right hon. Friend about what he proposes to do on this matter. Will he make up his mind about it and let us know what he has decided?

Mr. Erroll

This is a very important matter, and I wish to consider all aspects of it before finally making up my mind.

Mr. Nabarro

While not associating myself with the comments of my hon. Friend the Member for Louth (Sir C. Osborne), may I ask my right hon. Friend whether he will make representations to the Leader of the House for this matter to be debated before we rise for the Summer Recess, as it is one of very grave moment to hundreds of thousands of traders and manufacturers everywhere, and an arbitrary decision should not be taken by the Government without consulting the House first?

Mr. Erroll

As my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House is present, I am sure that he has heard what my hon. Friend has said.

Sir T. Moore

Does my right hon. Friend appreciate that if resale price maintenance were abolished the book trade, for one, would be in chaos and would probably collapse?

Mr. Erroll

The book trade had its opportunity to make representations to the official Committee when it was sitting.