HC Deb 23 July 1973 vol 860 cc1147-8
23. Mrs. Renee Short

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will dismiss the Chairman of the Price Commission.

Mr. Tom Boardman

No, Sir.

Mrs. Short

Why not?

Mr. Boardman

Because the chairman and his colleagues play a leading role in the fight against inflation, and I am satisfied with the way in which they are doing it. I remind the hon. Lady that only one-third of the applications dealt with up until the end of June were approved in full. The remainder were cut back, rejected or withdrawn.

Dame Irene Ward

Will my hon. Friend tell the hon. Lady that the country would be much better off if we could get rid of her?

Mr. Arthur Lewis

I expected that the Minister would not agree to the suggestion contained in the Question. Is he aware that the TUC, shoppers. shopkeepers and the overwhelming majority of the public would like to see the name of the Price Commission changed to the Commission for Increasing Prices? Will he adopt that suggestion?

Mr. Boardman

Shoppers and the great majority of the public wish to see our policy succeed and wish to see Labour Members supporting it to ensure its success.

Mr. Benn

If the hon. Gentleman will not dismiss the Chairman of the Price Commission, will he ask him to look at a point raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Renfrew, West (Mr. Buchan) in a letter this morning to the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food drawing attention to the FAO bulletin showing that in the past three years the price of beef imported from the Argentine into this country has risen only 10 per cent. whereas the retail price has risen by 45 per cent.? Does not this point to the need for an early inquiry by the Price Commission into what is happening and has been happening to beef prices and profits associated with them?

Mr. Boardman

The right hon. Gentleman would not expect me to comment on a letter which he says was delivered today to my right hon. Friend.

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