HC Deb 24 June 1965 vol 714 cc250-1W
Mr. Wallace

asked the President of the Board of Trade how many recommendations were made to the Monopolies Commission during the period May, 1951, to October, 1964; how many of those recommendations were acted upon; and what action the Government proposes to take regarding the remaining recommendations.

Mr. Jay

Recommendations in Monopolies Commission reports cannot always be precisely enumerated or correlated with subsequent action. When recommendations are linked, it is not easy to decide whether to count the group as one or several. In some cases, recommendations have been addressed to industry rather than to the Government. In some cases, the Government have taken action other than that specifically recommended by the Monopolies Commission to deal with the mischiefs revealed in a Monopolies Commission report. For example, recommendations in a number of reports prior to the enactment of the Restrictive Trade Practices Act, 1956, were subsumed in that general legislation. Recommendations in two recent reports about resale price maintenance were subsumed in the Resale Prices Act. Any statistical summary is therefore liable to be misleading. Subject to these qualifications, I am advised that in the period to which the Question relates, 24 reports by the Monopolies Commission were published, of which 9 included recommendations subsequently covered by the 1956 Act, one was a report confined to the facts, and two contained no recommendations for action. The remaining 12 reports contained 66 recommendations. Subsequent action was closely in line with the recommendation in 58 cases.

The remaining eight recommendations are now mainly of historical interest, not requiring specific action by the Government; but insofar as orders made or undertakings given in connection with Monopolies Commission reports remain in force, the Government will continue to keep them under review.