HC Deb 21 June 1955 vol 542 cc50-2W
59. Mr. Janner

asked the President of the Board of Trade what reports on what subjects are likely to be issued by the Monopolies Commission during the remaining period of the present calendar year.

Mr. Kaberry

My right hon. Friend expects to receive by the end of 1955 reports on the supply and export of tyres and the supply of sand and gravel in Central Scotland. He hopes also to receive a report on at least one of the other subjects which have been referred to the Commission.

60. Mr. Awbery

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that, in tenders made to the Bristol City Council for the supply of cement for 1955–56, 14 tenders were submitted from different firms on similar notepaper and all quoting the same price; and, in view of this and similar occurrences, if he will hold an inquiry into these price rings or refer them to the Monopolies Commission for a full investigation.

65. Mr. J. T. Hall

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that when the annual tenders were received by the county borough of Gateshead for the supply of materials, such as cement, salt glazed pipes and fittings, and certain types of road stone, the prices were identical; and if he will refer such practices to the attention of the Monopolies Commission.

Mr. Kaberry

As my right hon. Friend announced on 16th June, we have decided to ask the Monopolies Commission to inquire into the general effect on the public interest of level tendering and similar arrangements. Any local authority which Wishes to do so is, of course, at liberty to submit evidence to the Commission.

Mr. Shepherd

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is yet able to announce the terms of any of the further references to the Monopolies and Restrictive Practices Commission.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

Yes. The electrical street lighting reference was made on 17th June. The full text is as follows:

Equipment and Fittings for Electrical Street Lighting (excluding Electric Lamps)

Whereas it appears to the Board of Trade that it is or may be the fact that conditions to which the Monopolies and Restrictive Practices (Inquiry and Control) Act, 1948, applies

Commodity 1953 1954 Total
'000 Tons £'000 Value '000 Tons £'000 Value '000 Tons £'000 Value
Purchased by Ministry of Materials:
Prime Western Zinc 7.2 788 7.2 788
Sulphur 125 1,245 125 1,245
Purchased by Ministry of Food:
Wheat 458 12,673 458 12,673
Maize 329 8,444 329 8,444
Dried Fruit 44.6 2,335 23.8 1,288 68.4 3,623
Concentrated Orange Juice 1.4 214 2.0 335 3.4 549
Lard 12.5 1,085 13.1 2,200 25.6 3,285
Glucose 0.2 14 0.2 14
Canned Salmon 0.7 278 0.7 278
Canned Fruit 9.5 876 9.5 876
Cottonseed Oil 22.0 2,156 22.0 2,156
Purchased by Ministry of Agriculture:
Forest Tree Seeds 33 52 85
NOTE—The figures for purchases by Ministry of Materials relate to the financial year 1953–54. With the exception of Concentrated Orange Juice and Forest Tree Seeds, State trading in all the commodities shown above ceased before or on 1st June, 1954.

prevail as respects the supply of equipment and fittings for electrical street lighting (excluding electrical filament lamps, discharge lamps and fluorescent lamps):

Now therefore the Board in pursuance of Section 2 (1) of the said Act hereby refer to the Monopolies and Restrictive Practices Commission for investigation and report the matter of such supply.

The Commission shall as respects such supply investigate and report on:—

  1. (1) whether the conditions to which the Act applies in fact prevail and if so what manner and to what extent;
  2. (2) the things which are done by the parties concerned as a result of or for the purpose of preserving those conditions;
    • and
  3. (3) whether the conditions in question or all or any of the things done as aforesaid operate or may be expected to operate against the public interest.