§ Mr. Rooker
asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if he will take action to ensure that the Director General of Fair Trading has effective power to uncover price fixing cartels.
§ Mr. John Fraser
My right hon. Friend intends to introduce at the earliest convenient opportunity an amendment to the Restrictive Trade Practices Act 1976 to 721W strengthen the powers of investigation of the Director General of Fair Trading. The object of the amendment would he to enable the Director General to require information where it appeared to him that there were grounds for believing that an unregistered agreement was being operated, and remove the requirement at present in the Act that the power can be exercised only ifhe has reasonable cause to believethat an agreement exists. This change has been necessitated by a ruling of the Court of Appeal in 1969 which heavily circumscribed the Director General's scope for action. The proposal has been the subject of consultation with interested bodies, which have raised no objection.