HL Deb 12 May 1983 vol 442 c552

3.15 p.m.

Lord Orr-Ewing

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

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will introduce improved regulations to ensure that all goods in British shops are clearly marked with the name of their country of origin.

Lord Cockfield

My Lords, we are reviewing the operation of the existing origin marking requirements, and will announce our conclusions as soon as possible.

Lord Orr-Ewing

My Lords, is my noble friend aware that there is now a desire by many individuals in Britain to do their best to create job opportunities and a demand for our goods? It would be very much easier to carry out individual wishes if we were able to discover where goods came from. The sooner this is made clear, the better for Britain's recovery in general.

Lord Cockfield

My Lords, I note the point made by my noble friend, and I support his view that, wherever possible, people in this country prefer to buy British goods. In fact, we have greatly extended the scope of origin marking and we are considering what further extensions might be desirable.

Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede

My Lords, will the Minister consider whether there is any merit in introducing some form of financial incentive to produce origin markings?

Lord Cockfield

My Lords, that is a suggestion that goes rather wide. We are restricted in what we can do in this field by our obligations towards the Community and under international agreement.

Baroness Fisher of Rednal

My Lords, will the noble Lord give consideration to the fact that many British names are put on commodities that are produced abroad and that people buy them in all good faith thinking that they are British made? I am speaking particularly about goods from some of our larger fashion houses that carry the British tag. One finds when one has taken one's purchase home that very often there is a small tag sewn into the seam of the article that says "Made in Hong Kong".

Lord Cockfield

My Lords, the Trade Descriptions Act 1972 requires the origin marking of all imports which are supplied here under a United Kingdom name or mark.