HC Deb 10 November 1983 vol 48 c400
7. Mr. Beggs

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if Her Majesty's Government will introduce measures to restrict the growth of new foreign-based superstores in Northern Ireland.

Mr. Butler

No, Sir.

Mr. Beggs

What measures do the Government intend to take to protect small family businesses from the unfair competition of large superstores and chains of superstores throughout the United Kingdom which, because of their size, are able to purchase goods at lower prices than those obtainable by small businesses?

Mr. Butler

I share the sympathy that the hon. Gentleman expresses for small shopkeepers, but one has to bear in mind the benefit to the consumer of the operation of supermarkets. If there is unfair competition it is open to the Office of Fair Trading to take action, which it has in two recent instances in Northern Ireland.