HC Deb 07 March 1968 vol 760 cc648-9
Q3. Mrs. Joyce Butler

asked the Prime Minister what arrangements he is making to co-ordinate the consumer protection work of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, the Board of Trade, the Ministry of Health, the Department of Education and Science and the Home Office.

The Prime Minister

My right hon. Friends work closely together on this as on other matters and no new arrangements are needed, Sir.

Mrs. Butler

Will my right hon. Friend accept that this arrangement is out of date today, when there are complex matters like labelling spread over three Ministries, with separate legislation, and that consumer protection is the Cinderella of all these Departments? Will he appoint a Minister of Consumer Welfare when he reorganises the Government?

The Prime Minister

My hon. Friend will be aware of the great importance which we attach to consumer protection and the work which has been done and, of course, the Bill which hon. Members will soon be able to debate in greater detail, but, of course, there is a difference in the labelling problems in respect of chemists' preparations, for example, with which the Ministry of Health is concerned, in respect of food and the quality of food, and on the question of misleading descriptions in the matter of textiles or household goods. It is right that the Departments responsible for these should be responsible for consumer protection, under the general guidance of the President of the Board of Trade, who is, of course, the Minister for consumer protection.