HC Deb 02 May 1977 vol 931 cc17-8
13. Mr. Hoyle

asked the Secretary of of State for Prices and Consumer Protection when action is going to be taken on the basis of the Price Commission's report on the prices charged for soft mixer drinks in licensed premises.

Mr. Hattersley

The report has been circulated to trade and consumer organisations, from which we have invited comments. When these are received, we hope to discuss the contents of the report with interested parties.

Mr. Hoyle

Will my right hon. Friend please note that the public are getting impatient for action on this matter? The brewers are not prepared to await the outcome of the beer reference, because, despite their high profits, they have already shown, by raising the price of beer, what they think about that.

Mr. Hattersley

I understand the impatience that people feel, particularly when they consider the frequency with which prices have been increasing in this industry and when they consider some of the profits. However, we have a reference to the Price Commission which I asked the Price Commission to undertake, without implying any necessary judgment about the performance of the industry. I hope that that report will come to me before the summer. My hon. Friend will recall, however, that, even if the report implies the criticisms which he suggests, at present the Government do not have the power to deal with that situation. If we carry the Price Commission Bill, we shall have the power, and if using that power appeared appropriate I should not hesitate to do so.