HC Deb 12 December 1963 vol 686 cc537-8
2. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Regional Development whether he has completed his study of resale price maintenance; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Heath

I have nothing to add to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Brentford and Chiswick (Mr. Dudley Smith) on 28th November.

Mr. Hughes

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that the Government, powerful numerically but not constructtively or intellectually, with all the aids of science at their disposal, have failed to devise plans which would solve this problem in the interests of (a) the workers and (b) the housewives and families?

Mr. Heath

I assure the hon. and learned Gentleman that my Department is hoping to find a solution of a constructive nature on a sound intellectual basis.

Mr. Oram

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this is becoming an increasingly urgent matter and that public opinion is getting quite worked up about it—more worked up than he appears to be? Does he realise that the obverse of the incomes policy the Government claim to be pursuing is a price policy? Is not an essential element of a price policy the abolition of individual resale price maintenance in the interests of the consumers?

Mr. Heath

I fully appreciate the urgency and difficulty of the subject, but to appreciate a thing fully one does not necessarily have to be worked up about it. I shall make a statement as soon as I can.

Mr. More

Will my right hon. Friend give an assurance that, before any Government plan is produced on this subject, he will have consultations with representatives of the small traders who might be adversely affected by any change in the law?

Mr. Heath

There have been studies and full consultations over considerable periods with, I think, everybody concerned.

Forward to