HC Deb 16 November 1983 vol 48 c848
19. Mr. Wrigglesworth

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what is his policy towards monopolies and mergers.

Mr. Alexander Fletcher

As my right hon. Friend explained yesterday in answer to my hon. Friend the member for Rugby and Kenilworth (Mr. Pawsey), our policy towards monopolies and mergers is governed by a balance between reliance on the market as arbiter of company size and structure, the need for competition to promote the direct interest of the consumer, and any other matters which may affect the public interest.

Mr. Wrigglesworth

If the Government believe in competition, why are they pursuing a privatisation policy which will simply convert public monopolies into private ones? Will the Minister pursue a policy, particularly in relation to BT and British Airways, of deregulation and further liberalisation which will give true competition?

Mr. Fletcher

We are pursuing a vigorous competition policy in the private and public sectors by privatisation and by references under section 11 of the Competition Act.