HC Deb 06 December 1971 vol 827 cc912-3
5. Mr. Wilkinson

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he will make a statement on his initiatives to restore origin marking on wool textile products.

42. Mr. David Clark

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress he is making with his consideration of the application by the wool textile industry for origin marking orders under Section 8 of the Trade Descriptions Act. 1968.

The Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and President of the Board of Trade (Mr. John Davies)

As a first step, my hon. Friend has discussed with representatives of the wool textile delegation the possible need for stronger general safeguards against the consumer being misled into believing that imported goods are British.

Mr. Wilkinson

I am grateful for that reply. Would my right hon. Friend bear in mind that the Conservative Party, at any rate, believes in maximising consumer choice and discrimination? Will he therefore do his best to ensure that a Private Member's Bill on this subject, which the Government are supporting, will be brought forward as much as possible?

Mr. Davies

I can certainly give that assurance. My hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, South-East (Mr. Peel) has a Private Member's Bill on the subject and, as has been said, the Government are anxious to support it.

Mr. Benn

Is the right hon. Gentleman able to assure the House that the full resources of his Department will be made available to help that Bill, which is of such importance that it should receive help beyond that normally expected for a Private Member's Bill?

Mr. Davies

I assure the right hon. Gentleman that every help will be given. I am as anxious as he is to see the Bill succeed.

Mr. Tom Boardman

What safeguards may be introduced by the Department against possible damage in the interval between now and the Bill's becoming law?

Mr. Davies

I will give thought to any proposals on that subject, but effectively the situation does not arise until 1st January next year and it is possible that steps will have been taken between now and then to alleviate the situation.