§ Mr. David Mitchell
asked the Secretary of State for Employment, in the light of the fact that boat builders and house repairers require a licence if storing 3 gallons or more of spirit-based adhesives and that the cost of this licence has now been increased from £1 to £10 per annum, whether he is satisfied that the cost is an economic proposition for a small trader; and whether the increase is in conformity with the Government's prices policy.
§ Mr. John Grant
I am informed by the chairman of the Health and Safety Commission that the increased scale of fees for petroleum licences was designed to conform with Government and the Health and Safety Commission's policy that the cost of issuing a licence for health and safety purposes should be borne by the licensee who introduces the hazard rather than by the general ratepayers. These fees were last increased in 1968 and, while they do not constitute prices or charges falling within the Price Commission's field of jurisdiction, the increases are compatible with the general policy on prices since they are necessary to cover costs.
Whether the cost of a licence to keep petroleum spirit/mixture is an economic proposition is a matter of individual judgment for the trader concerned, but I have no reason to doubt it.