§ 22. Mr. Emrys Hughes
asked the Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Regional Development what discussions he had with the Scottish whisky trade before his announcement of his intention to introduce a Bill on resale price maintenance.
§ 35. Mr. A. Lewis
asked the Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Regional Development what are the names of the organisations representing the retail traders organisations and their representatives which he interviewed prior to making the Government's 1321 announcement on the abolition of Resale Price Maintenance; and how many meetings were held before this announcement was made.
§ Mr. Heath
Evidence was received from over 70 organisations during the Board of Trade inquiry, including many associations representing retailers and two representing the wines and spirits trade. Evidence from individual manufacturers was also collected. Since the inquiry was confidential, I cannot give further details.
§ Mr. Hughes
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the intolerable strain which has resulted in Scotland because of a "leak" that the price of whisky was to be reduced by 6s. a bottle? Will he inquire who caused this leak? Is he aware that, on the other side, the licensed grocers are protesting to their Members of Parliament that the distillers are calling the Prime Minister a traitor to his class, and others want the money back from the Tory Party funds? Will the right hon. Gentleman clear up this matter?
In view of the fact that many opponents of R.P.M. are not aware of the arguments in favour of it being abolished, will the right hon. Gentleman consider releasing some details of the investigations he has made in his Department without revealing confidential facts which he does not want to be released?
§ 30. Mr. K. Lewis
asked the Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Regional Development whether, in preparing his promised legislation covering resale price maintenance, he will have regard to the safeguarding of prices when these are maintained in order to include service to the goods, replacement of defective parts and loss caused by defect which the Consumer Council suggests should be made an obligation on manufacturers.
§ Mr. Lewis
Since my right hon. Friend decided upon his legislation for the abolition of resale price maintenance very much upon the basis of what the Consumer Council said, may I ask him to bear in mind what the Council said a fortnight later, namely, that servicing, and replacement of parts by manufacturers is a very important factor? Is he not aware that supermarkets and mini-markets and all the things we now have do not always provide this type of service and that it is desirable that we should retain a few of the shops which do provide such service?
§ Mr. Oram
Did not the report of the Consumer Council show that customers are at a considerable disadvantage vis-à-vis manufacturers and retailers in the matter of defects in goods and retailers escaping their liabilities? Since the Secretary of State responded to prodding in respect of hire-purchase legislation and resole price maintenance legislation, can we be encouraged to think that, if we go on prodding him on this matter, we shall get legislation in response to this Consumer Council recommendation?