Building Materials (Distribution)

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Ministry of Works – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 7th November 1949.

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Photo of Mr Charles Key Mr Charles Key , Poplar Bow and Bromley 12:00 am, 7th November 1949

Recommendation (1) in the report was addressed to the builders' merchants and I called the attention of their organisation to it. Without a detailed inquiry I cannot say what improvements merchants have made in their systems of accounting, methods of stock control and other matters to which their attention was drawn, but I hope they will continue to effect improvements wherever possible.

As regards recommendation (2), further reductions of margins have taken place since my replies to my hon. Friend on 24th January and 2nd February, 1949, and my Department is now carrying out an investigation of margins to ascertain what more can be done.

Recommendation (3) was a long-term measure to eliminate restrictive practices in the field of distribution of building materials. I hope that objective will be reached through the machinery established by the Monopolies and Restrictive Practices (Inquiry and Control) Act and I must await the report of the Monopolies and Restrictive Practices Commission on the items already referred to them before deciding what further action may be desirable.