HC Deb 08 July 1992 vol 211 cc332-3
18. Mr. Alexander

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what representations he has received about the proposed new price marking order.

Mr. Leigh

I have received representations from the British Retail Consortium and from trading standards officers.

Mr. Alexander

Have those representations included the fact that people selling small high-priced items such as cosmetics and pharmaceuticals could be severely disadvantaged by the proposed order? Is my hon. Friend aware that if people have to be able to see items and their prices without assistance, that would be impossible for sellers who keep goods being the counter, or under the counter? Will my hon. Friend take that concern on board?

Mr. Leigh

My hon. Friend is right to be worried about that. As with so much that comes from the Commission on such subjects, it is sensible in principle to insist that shopkeepers should display prices in shop windows and on goods displayed behind the counter, but things go wrong when the Commission tries to be far too prescriptive— laying down, for example, as does the lengthy document which I have here, that hair care products, bath products, lacquer shampoos and rinsing products should all have their prices displayed as decreed in the memorandum. That is a regulation too far. It is too prescriptive. In our negotiations with the Commission we must seek to extend it, and we shall do precisely that.