HC Deb 05 December 1990 vol 182 c302
12. Mr. Bidwell

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations he has received from the Director General of Fair Trading on the implementation of Government regulations on the brewing industry.

Mr. Redwood

The director general is monitoring compliance with the Supply of Beer Orders and he has not so far advised me that any change is necessary.

Mr. Bidwell

Does the Minister realise that many people in the industry are worried about the apparent climb-down by the Government on the brewing industry question? Will the Minister ask the Office of Fair Trading to monitor what are known as swap arrangements in the industry, or is he too mindful of the brewers' donations to the coffers of the Tory party?

Mr. Redwood

The director general has powers to monitor arrangements. If the hon. Gentleman has evidence that he thinks the director general ought to see to help him carry out his task, I suggest that he sends it to him or to my office.

Mr. Butler

With the closure of the largest regional brewer, Greenall Whitley, and with other regional brewers possibly following suit, is not something going very wrong with the structure of the industry? Should not the Monopolies and Mergers Commission reconsider the matter urgently?

Mr. Redwood

The director general is keeping the industry under review and he also has powers to advise my right hon. Friend about any transaction or merger which he thinks might be damaging to the public interest and should be referred to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission. My hon. Friend the Member for Warrington, South (Mr. Butler) has been doing an extremely good job for his constituency and the interests of the brewery there, and I have helped him to forward evidence to the director general, who will be advising us and my hon. Friend in due course.