HC Deb 06 February 1964 vol 688 cc1328-9
31. Mr. Fletcher

asked the Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Regional Development whether he is aware that his announcement that resale price maintenance is to be abolished has created uncertainty among manufacturers and traders as to whether Section 25 of the Restrictive Trade Practices Act is still enforceable and what early action he is taking to remove these uncertainties.

Mr. Heath

Section 25 of the Restrictive Trade Practices Act, 1956, remains the law until it is amended or repealed. This Answer should remove any uncertainty on that point.

Mr. Fletcher

Is the Secretary of State aware that, although it still remains the law in many places, it has long ceased to be so regarded, or to be observed? There is mounting confusion among manufacturers, shopkeepers and the public as to whether resale price maintenance is still operative. Will the right hon. Gentleman tell us—first, when the Bill will be introduced, and, secondly, when he expects it to become law?

Mr. Heath

It does sometimes happen that laws are not strictly kept, but that does not alter the fact that the law is in existence and can be enforced. I should have thought this was perfectly well known. We shall adhere to the timetable for the Bill which has already been announced by my right hon. and learned Friend the Leader of the House. Obviously I cannot give an indication as to when the House will conclude its deliberations on it.