HC Deb 22 July 1970 vol 804 cc529-30
31. Mr. Loughlin

asked the President of the Board of Trade what steps he intends to take in the matter of the proposed increases in premiums announced by leading insurers.

Mr. Anthony Grant

As I told the hon. Member for Pontypridd (Mr. John) on 16th July, we are not proposing to take any action on this matter.—[Vol. 803, c. 258.]

Mr. Loughlin

Does the hon. Gentleman recall that a short time ago some remarks were made by him and his hon. and right hon. Friends about holding down the cost of living? Is he now saying that he is to do nothing when there is a proposed 25 per cent. increase in insurance premiums for motorists? Will he not do something in this do-nothing Government?

Mr. Grant

What I do know is that the Board of Trade has a statutory duty to ensure that the financial position of motor insurance companies is sound. Their financial position could be damaged if premiums were held down during a period of rising costs.

Sir G. Nabarro

Is it not a fact that the object of the increase of 25 per cent. in motoring insurance is to make the whole operation financially viable and no more? Is it not a disastrous policy to cause insurance companies to lose money heavily due to the carelessness of motorists?

Mr. Grant

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his comments. Hon. Members opposite should bear in mind that one of the difficulties of the insurance companies has been the increases in cost caused by direct action by the previous Administration, particularly by selective employment tax.

An Hon. Member

When are you to take it off?