HC Deb 20 December 1966 vol 738 cc1170-1
28. Mr. Gordon Walker

asked the Minister of Power whether he will introduce regulations to compel petrol companies to exhibit the octane-content of the grades of petrol on sale to the public.

Dr. Bray

No, Sir. I am informed that a British Standard Specification, associated with an agreed nomenclature, is to be published early next year and my right hon. Friend expects the petrol companies to adopt it voluntarily. Octane rating is not the only indication of quality.

Mr. Gordon Walker

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply, but would he not agree that motorists, like other consumers, have a right to be sure what they are buying for their money? Is he aware that there is a company in my own constituency which does publish the octane content? It has found it perfectly possible to control the octane content? Is my hon. Friend aware that if one wants to—there may be companies which do not want to—one can control the octane content of petrol on sale?

Dr. Bray

My right hon. Friend will recall that a Bill—the Protection of Consumers (Trade Descriptions) Bill—was introduced in the previous Parliament. It is the intention of the Government to produce a similar Bill as soon as possible. However, I do not think petrol companies will not co-operate with my right hon. Friend in the way I have suggested.

Mr. Wingfield Digby

Are we to assume, then, that there is at present no significant difference between the products of the various companies?

Dr. Bray

I would ask the hon. Member to await the publication of the new British Standard Specification.