§ Mr. Gwilym Roberts
asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection what study he has made of the price monitoring work being carried out by the Cannock Trades Council; how many other trades councils were involved in this work; and what steps he will take to encourage trades councils and similar bodies to undertake price-monitoring and consumer protection work.
§ Mr. Maclennan
Like all the local price comparison schemes assisted by my Department, the methods used by the Cannock Trades Council for its survey, including, for example, details of the measures it has taken to publicise the results, have been approved. Copies of the results of the survey are received regularly and scrutinised, and I am satisfied that it is providing a useful service.
One other trades council is participating in the scheme, namely Bournemouth and Christchurch. A third trades council submitted an application but subsequently withdrew it.15W
The TUC has drawn the attention of local trades councils to the scheme and asked them to help in any way they can. We have also given every encouragement to voluntary bodies to participate where surveys are not already being conducted by local authorities. We have approached the National Association of Citizen Advice Bureaux and the National Federation of Consumer Groups, as well as giving help to particular bodies like the North Staffordshire National Housewives Association and Southampton University which showed an interest. As relatively few voluntary bodies have the necessary resources to persist with local price surveys every week their main contribution has been in occasional surveys in areas not covered by weekly price comparisons.