HL Deb 02 July 1968 vol 294 cc160-1

2.50 p.m.


My Lords, I beg leave to ask the second Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government how far they have accepted the recommendations of the Sainsbury Report.]


My Lords, I would refer my noble friend to the Statement made by my right honourable friend the Minister of Health in the House of Commons on June 24, which I repeated in this House.


My Lords, is my noble friend aware that I read that Statement and heard it? May I ask him two supplementary questions? First, as branded names are sometimes held to hide excessive prices, why is there to be delay in requiring that all new products be marked under one approved name? Secondly, in view of the finding that the cost to the National Health Service has been inflated by excessive profits, to the extent of several million pounds, is it not desirable that the National Health Service Act should be amended in order to secure a reduction in these costs?


My Lords, the proposals in the Sainsbury Report that branded names should be discontinued were not adopted by the Government for the reasons given in the Statement; namely, that in the opinion of the Minister the Committee had underestimated the adverse effect which that would have upon exports. On the question of excessive profits, it appears to the Government to be more expedient to attempt to regulate the profits of the industry—and I do not now say whether or not I accept that they have been excessive—by means of negotiated agreements on individual products.


My Lords, may I ask my noble friend whether he would urge the Front Bench to enable us to have a debate on this matter, as unfortunately Lord Sainsbury is unable to be here to-day and I am sure we should all like to hear his views on this matter?


My Lords, would not my noble friend agree that the supreme value of the Sainsbury Report lies in its skilful analysis of the facts of the industry; and would he not further agree that all its recommendations are not necessarily sacrosanct, but ought to be subjected to the fullest discussion before they are adopted as Government policy?


My Lords, the answer to both questions is, Yes. The Government agree that the Sainsbury Report most skilfully analysed the industry; and the Government have adopted many of the Committee's recommendations, and have said that they may later adopt others.


My Lords, will the noble Lord accept that, so far as we on this side of the House are concerned, in so far as the Government have so far announced their decisions on the recommendations of the Report we consider that they have done extremely well?

Forward to