HC Deb 11 October 1976 vol 917 cc9-10
9. Mr. McCrindle

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if he proposes to introduce legislation amending or extending the Trade Descriptions Act 1968.

Mr. John Fraser

The report on the review of the Act carried out under the chairmanship of the former Director General of Fair Trading will be published very shortly. The Government will give careful consideration to its recommendations before announcing their intentions regarding possible amending legislation.

Mr. McCrindle

If any review of the Act is likely to include clarification of the position of airlines on overbooking, will the Minister take into account the decision of the American authorities, who recently declared that such a practice was no longer to be considered illegal provided the intending passenger was told of the possibility in advance? In view of the great difficulty that airlines would experience if overbooking were declared a malpractice under the Act, will the hon. Gentleman approach the matter along those lines in this country too?

Mr. Fraser

What the Act prohibits is false statements about the provision of services generally. It does not make the practice of overbooking illegal. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will have welcomed the provisions announced by another Department for compensation arrangements. For the rest, I ask him to await the report. We shall be pleased to receive representations and recommendations from the travel trade.