HC Deb 17 May 1962 vol 659 cc1519-20
27. Mr. Oram

asked the President of the Board of Trade when he expects his Department to conclude its review of monopolies and restrictive practices policy.

Mr. N. Macpherson

As my right hon. Friend told the House on 14th February, he doubts whether the review of this complex subject will be completed before the end of the year.

Mr. Oram

Has not our recent experience of mergers and proposed mergers shown the complete weakness of the existing machinery as well as a lack of resolution on the part of the Government in dealing with these matters? Is it not important that there should be legislation introduced during the next Session? Will the report be speeded up with a view to preparing that legislation?

Mr. Macpherson

Work on the review is being speeded up, but I cannot hold out any hope, in view of the complex nature of the subject, that it will be completed before the end of the year.

Mr. Jay

Can the hon. Gentleman at least assure the House that the Board of Trade's review of this matter will take a shorter time than its review of weights and measures?

Mr. Macpherson

The review of weights and measures was completed some time ago. We hope that this matter will be completed in the course of this year.

Mr. Walker

Will the Board of Trade review the difference between legislation here in regard to monopolies and restrictive practices and such legislation in the Common Market, and publish the result of its review?

Mr. Macpherson

We shall certainly take account of circumstances in the Common Market and the regulations already made there.

Mr. Jay

Does the Minister's answer to me mean that, even when the review is completed, no action will follow?

Mr. Macpherson

Certainly not.

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