§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
§ LORD SOMERLEYTON
My Lords, this is, as I think your Lordships will find, a non-contentious measure, and will permanently remedy a very real grievance. The Bill proposes to perpetuate certain principles of the Sale of Food Order, 1921, which expires on August 31 next. It provides that all tea sold by retail, whether contained in a packet or not, is to be sold by net weight, and, if tea is packed ready for sale, the package must be labelled with a true statement of the net weight. This is not really a case of prolonging a war-time restriction, because, although the existing Order is a wartime Order, its provisions had been recommended by a Select Committee of the, House of Commons before the outbreak of war, and were intended to prevent the unfair system of weighing the paper with the tea. The experience gained in the administration of the Order has fully justified the recommendations of the Select Committee. The Order has protected the public, and has caused no substantial difficulty to the traders. The Government believe that it would be unfortunate were this measure to lapse, and there is reason to fear that., if the restrictions are removed, the abuse will revive. Your Lordships are accordingly invited to give the Bill a Second Reading.
With regard to the clauses of the Bill, I would point out what the first clause is the. principal clause. In the first subsection of that clause, it is made clear that tea must not be sold by retail except by net weight, in ounces or pounds. This prevents the sale of packets of an unspecified weight. The subsection follows the provision at present in force under the Sale of Food Order, and applies, subject to the exception in subsection (4), to all sales, whether the tea be made up in packages or not. I do not know whether your Lordships would like me to go all through the clauses. I should be very glad to explain them, if your Lordships so desire, but I venture to hope that, as this is, so 322 far as I know, a non-contentious Bill, it will receive the undivided assent of your Lordships. I beg to move.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(Lord Somerleyton.)
§ On Question, Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.