HC Deb 01 December 1966 vol 737 cc611-3
53. Mr. Edelman

asked the President of the Board of Trade what action he is taking to ensure that the labelled description of wines shipped from abroad and bottled in Great Britain corresponds with the actual nature and quality of such wines.

Mr. Jay

I am always ready to inquire into alleged contraventions of the Merchandise Marks Act, 1887–53, which make it an offence to apply a false or misleading trade description to any goods, including wine, and, where appropriate, to take proceedings.

Mr. Edelman

Is not my right hon. Friend aware of the widespread nature of this fraud? Will he make clear that regional labels on French wines should represent regions and should not be treated as generic titles? In the circumstances, will he introduce appropriate legislation in order to prevent these bogus descriptions, especially as there will be increasing purchases of these fraudulent wines as Christmas approaches?

Mr. Jay

I have seen several statements on this subject. We are investigating the facts before deciding whether we can take any action.

54. Mr. Arthur Lewis

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that wines labelled as French are being sold in this country when in fact the wine comes from Bulgaria, Hungary and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics; and, as a means of saving hard currency, if he will take steps to see money spent on French wine by wine importers will only be allowed where it can be proved that the wine is French.

Mr. Jay

The answer to the first part of the Question is "No, Sir". If my hon. Friend has any evidence to the contrary or evidence that import restrictions on wine are being evaded, I will, of course, see that it is investigated.

Mr. Lewis

If my right hon. Friend has contact with the wine trade association, will he ask it for the information? Is it not true that bulk wine is being supplied to France from Iron Curtain countries, being bottled there and then being sold here at double the price we could get it for if we took it direct?

Mr. Jay

I shall certainly consult the wine traders, but I am always glad to receive communications from my hon. Friend.