HC Deb 14 March 1963 vol 673 cc1507-8
16. Mr. Owen

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will now make a statement on the personnel and terms of reference of the Consumer Council.

54. Mr. Darling

asked the President of the Board of Trade why he has so far been unable to appoint a chairman to the proposed Consumer Council.

Mr. Erroll

This is an important appointment which requires an unusual combination of qualities. I have received a great deal of advice from many quarters and have thought it right to give this the most careful consideration. I hope, however, shortly to be in a position to announce the name of the chairman and the Council's terms of reference.

Mr. Owen

While I appreciate the importance of these appointments, may I ask whether the Minister would agree that he has now had some time to consider them? Will he assure the House that this is a matter upon which we shall be given firm information before the Easter Recess?

Mr. Erroll

I would rather not give any undertaking of that sort.

Mr. Darling

May we take it that one of the reasons why no progress has been made is that the people whom the right hon. Gentleman has approached are not satisfied that this will be an effective Council? Will he bear in mind that if there is much further delay the valuable staff of the Consumer Advisory Council will be dispersed and the new Council will have no staff to work with?

Mr. Erroll

I appreciate what the hon. Member has said about staff. The reply to his first question is that the difficulty is that the best and most suitable people are often already the most busy.

Mr. F. Noel-Baker

Is the right hon. Gentleman in a position to say whether it is his intention that the Council should have members, staff and resources to enable it to watch over advertising on behalf of consumers?

Mr. Erroll

I ask the hon. Gentleman to await the announcement of the Council's terms of reference.