§ Mr. Butler
asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster to what extent his Department's competition division monitors the operation of the net book agreement; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Maude
The Restrictive Trade Practices Act 1976 and the Resale Prices Act 1976 provide the current legal framework within which arrangements such as the net book agreement may be considered in the light of the public interest. Judgments as to the public interest in such cases are a matter for the Restrictive Practices Court. As stated in my reply to the hon. Member on 15 July 1987, at columns 483–84, an application to the court to review its 1962 judgment in respect of the net book agreement may he made by the Director General of Fair Trading. There is no provision for the Secretary of State to make such an application.
It is therefore for the Director General to determine whether the conditions for an application to the court in respect of the net book agreement are met and in these circumstances the operation of the agreement is not monitored by my Department.