HC Deb 11 October 1976 vol 917 cc22-3
22. Mr. Hooley

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if he will hold consultations with the industry concerning the level of prices of children's shoes.

Mr. Maclennan

I understand the concern about the price of children's shoes, but I would prefer to await the outcome of the footwear industry study being conducted under the auspices of the Department of Industry and of the Director General of Fair Trading's consideration of the feasibility of a reference to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission before deciding whether anything further needs to be done.

Mr. Hooley

I thank my hon. Friend for the information that something is in train, but will he express a little greater sense of urgency and tell us when and in what form the inquiries and studies will be published?

Mr. Maclennan

I understand from the Department of Industry that the study is expected to be completed towards the end of the year.

Mr. Michael Morris

Will the hon. Gentleman recognise in his representations to other Ministries that the industry has suffered excessively from dumped merchandise and export competition? Does he recognise that it is in no one's interest to cut back on the standard of children's shoes?

Mr. Maclennan

I have noted the hon. Gentleman's point.

Mr. Pavitt

In these consultations with the industry, will my hon. Friend take into consideration possible differential advantages for well-designed shoes that do not malform girls' feet? Will he consider introducing financial incentives for producing healthy rather than unhealthy shoes?

Mr. Maclennan

That is an important point and one which I am sure my hon. Friend will draw to the attention of my colleagues in the Department of Health.

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