§ Mr. Michael Brown
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he intends to implement the EC directive on price indications.
§ Mr. Leigh
I yesterday laid before the House the Price Marking Order 1991. The order will require traders to show clearly the selling price of goods which they sell to the private consumer. For some goods, mainly those sold from bulk or prepacked in variable quantities, they will also be required to show the unit price.
Traders will be allowed to show unit prices in imperial or in metric units. However, if they use metric units for food, they must also show the unit price in imperial units. They will generally be free to choose how they show their prices, provided that the consumer can readily identify the items to which particular prices apply. Thus, prices may be shown on the goods individually or on tickets, or by means of notice near to them.
Traders selling goods to the private consumer will have to show prices inclusive of VAT, but shops selling mainly to businesses may alternatively display prominent notices that their prices are subject to VAT.
The price shown for the goods must include, or state with equal prominence, the price of any further goods or services for which the consumer must also pay in order to obtain the goods in question.
The order also contains provisions which allow traders to display prominent notices giving information about general reductions rather than having to re-price goods individually.
Similarly, prominent notices may be used for a period of 14 days after any change in the rate of VAT to inform consumers of adjustments to marked prices.132W
The order will apply to advertisements in which retailers choose to include prices, and to mail order advertisements. It will not apply to manufacturers or other suppliers who do not sell goods directly to the consumer.
It will come into force on 1 September 1991. It will not apply to catalogues and some advertising material produced before 1 November 1991.