HC Deb 08 July 1974 vol 876 cc917-8
1. Mr. Arthur Davidson

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if she will make further regulations with regard to the standard weight of products sold in packets or other containers.

The Minister of State, Department of Prices and Consumer Protection (Mr. Man Williams)

Yes, Sir. It is the Government's policy to add to the list of products sold in prepackaged quantities whenever we are satisfied it should and can be done. We have further orders under the Weights and Measures Act in mind and hope to lay them in the near future.

Mr. Davidson

That is a helpful answer, but is my hon. Friend aware that the greatest confusion is caused by the packaging of biscuits and that this is the source of the greatest consumer pressure? Will he give the earliest priority to this?

Mr. Williams

I give my hon. Friend that assurance. Biscuits and chocolate will be the subject of early orders, followed fairly quickly, I hope, by wines sold by carafe.

Mr. Cormack

What is the state of consultations on the unit pricing front?

Mr. Williams

That is a different question. There is another Question about this matter on the Order Paper today. The hon. Gentleman will have in mind that the legislation has not yet been passed, and we are still awaiting its completion.

Mr. Lipton

Will my hon. Friend do something about manufacturers who produce much larger cartons than are necessary? For example, could not cornflakes be encompassed within a much smaller package than is at present available?

Mr. Williams

The difficulty is that corn flakes quickly become corn powder if they are compressed into too small a package. My hon. Friend will know, however, that it is illegal to use misleading packaging, and if he has in mind instances of packaging grossly misleading to the consumer I shall be glad if he will bring them to my attention.