HC Deb 22 July 1970 vol 804 cc522-3
21. Mr. Lipton

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will undertake a publicity campaign regarding the safeguards that are available to housewives as shoppers.

Mr. Anthony Grant

Not at the moment, but I will bear the suggestion in mind.

Mr. Lipton

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that the Trade Descriptions Act, 1968, was one of the most useful Measures passed by the last Labour Government and conferred on housewives many benefits of which they are not fully aware? Will he, therefore, if he wants this Government to justify their claim to be the friends of the housewives, do something to publicise the very substantial advantages that this Act confers?

Mr. Grant

I am well aware that the Trade Descriptions Act, which was supported by my party—as I know, because I was on the Committee at the time—is working well and, indeed, confers many benefits on consumers. But what with the Consumer Council, the Consumers Association and other bodies, there is today more information available to the consumer than there has ever been. Nevertheless, I will bear in mind the hon. Member's suggestion, but I must look at the subject with a view to the expenditure that would be involved.

Mr. Ogden

Will the hon. Gentleman tell us what has happened to the Housewives' League? Is he aware that, whatever safeguards are available to the housewife, they are certainly not to be found on the benches opposite? What have he or his colleagues done about insurance and other price increases, petrol price increases, meat price increases, and the whole range of increases going through in the last three weeks?

Mr. Grant

I can only say that the Housewives' League is not the responsibility of the Board of Trade, and also that on 18th June the housewives had their opportunity to express their opinion.

Mrs. Sally Oppenheim

Will my hon. Friend recognise that any benefits bestowed on the housewife by the last Government were purely negative, and will he give an asurance that this Government will bestow positive benefits on the housewife?

Mr. Grant

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. I agree with the first part of her supplementary question. As to the second part, I hope that she will not be disappointed at the end of this Session.