HC Deb 20 May 1974 vol 874 cc7-8
6. Mrs. Sally Oppenheim

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if she will ask the Director General of Fair Trading to examine the introduction of prices telephone advice bureaux similar to those in operation in Germany.

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

This is the direct responsibility of my Department. We are at present studying methods of extending and improving the information available to consumers and are investigating this particular possibility with the Post Office.

Mrs. Oppenheim

As the bureaux provide information on a wide range of foodstuff prices in shops throughout cities, would not the introduction of such a telephone shop-around service in this country be extremely valuable to consumers, at a time of soaring prices enabling them to see where better value could be had? Will it be introduced as soon as possible?

Mr. Williams

It is precisely for those reasons that we are investigating this possibility. [Interruption.] I suggest that the hon. Lady has a conversation with certain of her hon. Friends, who seem adamantly opposed to any such idea. That is how I understand the grunting noises on the benches around her.

Mr. McNamara

Will my hon. Friend consider using local radio for such a purpose.

Mr. Williams

I accept that as being a possible useful service for local radio to provide, and during the coming week I am to meet representatives of local radio to talk about it.

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