Dental Goods Industry (Report)

Oral Answers to Questions — National Health Service – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 15th March 1951.

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Photo of Mr Edwin Leather Mr Edwin Leather , Somerset North 12:00 am, 15th March 1951

asked the Minister of Health what action he proposes to take regarding the Monopolies Commission Report on the Dental Industry.

Photo of Major Lyall Wilkes Major Lyall Wilkes , Newcastle upon Tyne Central

asked the Minister of Health what action he intends to take on the Report by the Monopoly Commission on Dental Goods in order to lower the costs incurred by the National Health Service in respect of these goods.

Photo of Mr Hilary Marquand Mr Hilary Marquand , Middlesbrough East

I hope to lay before the House within the next few days an Order under Section 10 of the Monopolies and Restrictive Practices (Inquiry and Control) Act, 1948. I hope that elimination of the practices which at present restrict competition in the dental trade will result in a reduction of prices.

Photo of Mr Edwin Leather Mr Edwin Leather , Somerset North

Would the Minister not agree with the opinion of the Commission that it is wrong to prohibit in one industry what is allowed in other industries? Would he therefore tell us whether he is prepared to recommend to his colleagues that they should grasp the nettle and ban all collective boycotts?

Photo of Mr Hilary Marquand Mr Hilary Marquand , Middlesbrough East

I would not agree that it is right to permit an abuse to continue merely because it is widespread, and in any case the majority of the Commission recommended immediate action.

Photo of Sir Edward Keeling Sir Edward Keeling , Twickenham

Does not the Minister agree that he should await the report on three or four industries in order that there may be a co-ordinated policy?

Photo of Mr Hilary Marquand Mr Hilary Marquand , Middlesbrough East

No, Sir. If a burglar breaks into my house I do not ask the police to wait until 10 other cases have occurred.

Photo of Major Lyall Wilkes Major Lyall Wilkes , Newcastle upon Tyne Central

As many requests have been made to the Minister to reduce the cost of the Health Service, does he not agree that the implementation of some of the recommendations by the Monopoly Commission on Dental Goods would tend to have that welcome effect?