HC Deb 06 February 1964 vol 688 c1323
23. Mr. Thorpe

asked the Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Regional Development if he will take steps to make it obligatory for all products in which leather and imitations of leather are used, to be clearly identified on the article in question or on a label attached to such article, so that the public may judge between real and artificial leather products.

Mr. Heath

I am considering the Molony Committee's recommendation that the Board of Trade should have powers to require informative labelling for designated goods. In the absence of such powers I cannot make the marking of individual classes of goods obligatory.

Mr. Thorpe

While thanking the right hon. Gentleman for that Answer, may I ask if he would agree that, if it were possible to have identification of this sort, it would give a much needed stimulus to the leather industry and also protect the consumer from shoddy substitutes?

Mr. Heath

I should not like to make any judgment at the moment about specific items. We have been following the recommendations of the Molony Committee in the order the Committee suggested. We are now dealing with hire-purchase aspects. The next subject will be merchandise marks and after that there will come this question.

Mr. Darling

Would not the measures proposed by the Molony Committee in this regard require very little legislation? Would it not be a good thing to take them out of turn and to deal with this growing problem in view of the substitutes coming on to the market for original things which people think they are buying?

Mr. Heath

Our preliminary conclusion was that the legislation would be quite complicated, but I am quite prepared to have another look at that.

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