HC Deb 16 January 1979 vol 960 cc721-2W
Mr. Rooker

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection how many price fixing agreements were registered with the Restrictive Practices Court in 1978; which industries were involved in these agreements; how many were found to be in the public interest; how many against; and what is the number of decisions awaited.

Mr. John Fraser

Of the agreements placed on the Register of Restrictive Trade Agreements during 1978, 358 contained restrictions of information provisions relating to prices and charges.

Some were notified in accordance with the timing provisions of the Restrictive Trade Practices Act 1976 and the Director General is continuing to evaluate and dis- cuss them with the parties concerned. However, the majority were not furnished for registration in due time and, as a consequence, the restrictions are void and their operation is unlawful. They involve ready-mixed concrete—90 agreements—, "black-top" road surfacing materials—139— sand, aggregates and other construction material— 60— coal—1— and animal feedingstuffs —2—. Proceedings are pending in respect of 93 ready-mixed concrete agreements—including some registered in 1977—and 79 "black-top" agreements are being considered in respect of the remainder of those mentioned above. The Director General is applying to the Restrictive Practices Court for (a) orders under section 35(3) of the Act restraining the parties from giving effect to the restrictions or information provisions in the agreements and to any other agreements not furnished for registration in due time; (b) declarations under section 1(3) that the agreements are contrary to the public interest; and (c) orders under section 2(2) restraining the parties from making any other agreement to the like effect.