HC Deb 05 July 1971 vol 820 cc902-3
8. Mr. Kaufman

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he will seek powers to prevent shopkeepers from making a separate charge for paper bags without informing customers that this is their practice.

The Under-Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (Mr. Nicholas Ridley)

No, Sir. I have no doubt that other shoppers are as alert as the hon. Member in ensuring that they are not overcharged, whether deliberately or by mistake, for goods they purchase, and that they react accordingly.

Mr. Kaufman

But in a time of rising prices such as this why will not the Minister take action to protect shoppers from conning devices like this indulged in by an unscrupulous minority of traders? Why will he not take action to help housewives by drawing up a code of fair shopping practice?

Mr. Ridley

We have had no complaint, other than that from the hon. Member, about this matter at all. I think that we should leave it open to the shopper to take or not to take a paper bag, and I do not believe that competition is not the best answer to this problem.