§ 5. Mr. Barnes
asked the Minister of Technology if he will refer to the National Board for Prices and Incomes for 9 examination prices currently being charged for the repair and servicing of gas and electrical domestic appliances.
§ Mr. Benn
I will certainly bear in mind my hon. Friend's suggestion. However, I 'think it preferable to await the reports of the National Board for Prices and Incomes on the two references affecting these industries with which it is already dealing and which should throw useful light on consumer service arrangements.
§ Mr. Barnes
Does my right hon. Friend not agree that, like the garage business, this is an area in which there are very wide variations in the standard and costs of repairs and that such an examination would make an important contribution to the prices and incomes policy?
§ Mr. Benn
Yes, but we made the reference on distributors' margins covering domestic electrical apparatus last summer and have now made it on the gas industry, covering the consumer services as well, and it would be better to wait until those reports are in. I have some complaints—very few on the gas side but some on the electrical side—but this is generally because people do not understand the necessarily high labour charges when visits are made.
§ Mr. Heffer
Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that, despite the fact that garage prices were considered by the Board, no action has been taken to bring them down? I hope that, in this case, much more effective action will be taken.
Mr. Gresham Cooke
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that I have received complaints—as, I dare say, have other hon. Members—from constituents that they are being charged these extra sums now?