HC Deb 02 December 1965 vol 721 c1607
4. Mr. Shepherd

asked the President of Board of Trade whether he will take steps to empower the Registrar of Restrictive Trading Agreements to operate an investigating organisation to secure evidence of clandestine agreements in restriction of trade.

Mr. Jay

The powers already exercised by the Registrar of Restrictive Trading Agreements have brought a significant number of agreements of the kind envisaged by the hon. Member into the register and before the Restrictive Practices Court. However, the Government are considering whether changes in the law would improve its effectiveness in relation to such agreements.

Mr. Shepherd

Does not the right hon. Gentleman realise that for practical as well as psychological reasons it is now necessary to attack the whole concept of restrictive practices and not to be on the defensive here?

Mr. Jay

I made that criticism when the Government supported by the party opposite introduced the Restrictive Trade Practices Bill. I can assure the hon. Gentleman that some 350 agreements—that is, one in seven—have been brought on to the register by enforcement procedures. Nevertheless, I am still not satisfied with what has been done.