HC Deb 15 November 1971 vol 826 cc8-9
8. Mr. Arthur Davidson

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he will now set up a section of his Department with sole responsibility for the protection of the consumer.

Mr. John Davies

No. Sir. Many parts of my Department need to take account of consumer interests in the course of their work, and it would not be practicable to concentrate responsibility for all these activities in one section.

Mr. Davidson

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that if we enter the Common Market—and I am not going into the rights or wrongs of that now—a whole variety of regulations on safety standards and other matters concerning all goods sold in this country will be brought into being and many of them will be in conflict with existing regulations? Does the right hon. Gentleman think that it would be in the interests of consumers that there should be a special department investigating this matter so that any regulations which are introduced will be seen to be in the interests of consumers and will not conflict with other interests?

Mr. Davies

The interests of consumers will be very much borne in mind in these arrangements. The hon. Gentleman can rest assured that inquiries addressed to my Department on any of these subjects will have a competent reply.

Mr. Benn

But is the right hon. Gentleman telling the House that his Department has made no study of the regulations to which my hon. Friend the Member for Accrington (Mr. Arthur Davidson) referred which would affect consumers in this country? If studies have been made, may we have a note of them?

Mr. Davies

The full extent of what may be involved will become apparent in due course. It would be wrong to imagine that the Department has not profoundly studied the matter.