§ 40. Mr. Pavitt
asked the Minister of Technology how long his negotiations with Mallory Batteries Limited have now lasted; what action he now proposes to take to secure the implementation of Report No. 64 of the National Board for Prices and Incomes; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Pavitt
Is it not disgusting that with the biggest rise in any commodity the Report of the Prices and Incomes Board is being ignored? Does my right hon. Friend recall that the request was that the firm should withdraw "pending" negotiations, not "during" negotiations? Is he aware that it has an international monopoly and that the National Health Service has no alternative supply of these important commodities?
§ Mr. Benn
I think that the appropriate adjective to apply is "complicated" rather than "disgusting". There are a number of practical problems, including distributors' stocks, investment, development and the difference between domestic and export prices. In the discussions with the firm, which have been very full, we have approached a solution which I shall announce in the House as soon as I can.
§ Mr. Pavitt
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I shall raise the subject on the Adjournment.