HC Deb 02 May 1977 vol 931 cc19-20
18. Mr. Mike Thomas

asked the Secretary of State Prices and Consumer Protection when he next plans to meet representatives of the National Consumer Council.

Mr. John Fraser

My right hon. Friend has no immediate plans to do so. At its invitation, he last met the full council on 14th February this year and has since had discussions with the council chairman.

Mr. Thomas

When the Secretary of State next meets the National Consumer Council, will he draw its attention to the speech that he made this weekend on the common agricultural policy? Is the Secretary of State aware that the Department is entitled to give to the National Consumer Council a remit to examine certain problems—approximately two a year, I believe? Will he also consider making a study of the changes that are needed in the common agricultural policy, so as to make it more consumer-oriented, as one of this year's remits to the council?

Mr. Fraser

I am sure that my right hon. Friend's speech has attracted so much attention that there will be no need for him specifically to draw the attention of the NCC to it. However, there is certainly no reason why my right hon. Friend should not consider the matters proposed by my hon. Friend, and even if he made no reference to the NCC I am sure that the NCC is capable of looking at the matter for itself.

Mr. Molloy

Is my hon. Friend aware that he is quite right in saying that great notice has been taken of my right hon. Friend's speech? But the speech itself will not be enough. What the housewives of this country are interested to know is when there are to be real efforts to hold prices. Will my hon. Friend tell my right hon. Friend that he has a vital rôle to play in helping the Government to achieve phase 3 of the social contract, and that it could well be that his failure in his job could jeopardise that endeavour?

Mr. Fraser

My right hon. Friend has no intention of failing in his job. He intends to achieve success. One of the contributions to that success will be the passage of the Price Commission Bill, against which the Opposition voted last Thursday although they have no alternative to put in its place.

Mr. Jay

But as most of the Tory Opposition voted for the European Communities Bill, will my hon. Friend explain to the National Consumer Council that all pro-Marketeers are hypocrites?