§ Mr. Boardman
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether there is any effective control over the retail prices of reconditioned furniture; whether such control permits of prices ranging from £950 to £250 for bedroom suites and dining room suites; and if he will cause inquiries to be made at the Departmental stores in Manchester now offering these goods at such prices.
§ Mr. Belcher
Reconditioned furniture is subject to price control, under which the person undertaking the reconditioning is regarded as a manufacturer and may not charge more than his cost of manufacture and sale plus 6 per cent., while the retailer's margin may not exceed 50 per cent, on cost, excluding Purchase Tax. The resulting retail price would depend upon the cost of the furniture before reconditioning and upon whether the margins stated above had been adhered to. When a trader, having bought furniture for resale, repairs or alters it to an extent which falls short of reconstruction or conversion, he is limited to the price he paid plus 50 per cent, thereof, plus a charge for repair, which in turn is controlled. The maximum price of second-hand goods which have been repaired in this manner is subject, in the case of a broad range of articles which it has been possible to specify and define by measurement, to an over-riding maximum cash price which may in no case be exceeded but a considerable quantity of furniture inevitably falls outside these definitions. Under the above provisions, the prices quoted may have been perfectly legal but, if my hon. Friend will let me have more specific information regarding the suites which are being offered for sale in Manchester, I will have inquiries made by the local price regulation committee.