§ 1.4 p.m.
§ Lord JACQUES rose to move, That the Draft Prices Act 1974 (Continuation of Section 2) Order 1975, laid before the House on 4th March, be approved. The noble Lord said: My Lords, in view of the timing of the present Order, which means that it has come immediately after the Second Reading of the Prices Bill, I feel that I can be really brief. The House is aware that Section 2 enables the Secretary of State to regulate by Order the prices and margins of subsidised foods, fresh foods and, at the retail level, other articles which are an essential part of the regular expenditure of low-income households. The House is also aware that this power is necessary to ensure that the subsidies reach the consumer and that the power has been treated merely as a reserve power. The House is further aware that the Prices Bill would extend these powers indefinitely. Finally, the House is aware that the powers which we have at present expire on 31st March 1975, but can be extended for a further year. The purpose 1332 of this Order is to extend the powers at least until the Prices Bill becomes law, so that there is no gap during which public expenditure on subsidised foods is not being safeguarded.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.