Yarn Prices

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Commerce – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 3rd November 1949.

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Photo of Sub-Lieutenant Herschel Austin Sub-Lieutenant Herschel Austin , Stretford 12:00 am, 3rd November 1949

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware of the fact that Government maximum price controls, discarded two years ago, have now been replaced by minimum price controls in the form of a price ring determined by the Yarn Spinners Association, thus acting against the public interests, and what steps he will take in this matter.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Ormskirk

The statutory controls, which were withdrawn in April last, prescribed fixed, not maximum, margins. My hon. Friend will have noted from the answer given to my hon. Friend the Member for Bexley (Mr. Bramall) on Tuesday last that the minimum price arrangements made by the Yarn Spinners' Association appear to be of a kind which can be referred to the Monopolies Commission.

Photo of Sub-Lieutenant Herschel Austin Sub-Lieutenant Herschel Austin , Stretford

In view of the fact that the ex-Cotton Controller, some of his staff and the actual premises are now in the service of this restrictive price ring, will my right hon. Friend take more effective action than referring it to the Monopolies Commission?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Ormskirk

We shall keep the operations of this ring under close watch, but the real decision as to whether it is referred to the Monopolies Commission falls on the Board of Trade and not on the officials to whom my hon. Friend refers.

Photo of Mr Emrys Roberts Mr Emrys Roberts , Merionethshire

In view of the Minister's statement that this matter could be referred to the Monopolies Commission, could the right hon. Gentleman assure the House that he will, in fact, take steps to refer it to that Commission?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Ormskirk

I cannot give that assurance, because I cannot anticipate what references will be made to the Commission, but I can inform the hon. Member that there is a long waiting list, from which the next list of references will have to be made.