HC Deb 18 February 1981 vol 999 c115W
Mr. David Atkinson

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will make a statement about the Price Marking (Bargain Offers) Order 1979 further to the reply he gave to the hon. Member for Woking (Mr. Onslow) on 29 February 1980, Official Report, c. 795.

Mrs. Sally Oppenheim

I told my hon. Friend the Member for Woking (Mr. Onslow) on 29 February 1980 that I had received a number of complaints about the complexity of the order and recognised the problems which might be encountered. I told him that I would consider whether in the light of experience the objectives of the order could be achieved in a simpler manner. I have subsequently discussed the problem with a number of interested parties. As a result I have asked the Director General of Fair Trading to review the order and advise me within six months whether changes should be made in the law. I understand that the Director General will be seeking evidence from organisations representing traders, consumers and those concerned with enforcement shortly. I have asked him to pay particular attention to the increasing use of meaningless price comparisons which technically comply with the order on the one hand and to the possibility that advertising slogans making general claims about value may be interpreted as contrary to the order on the other hand. I am anxious to prohibit misleading price comparisons without preventing honest traders from drawing attention to the fact that they quote competitive prices.