Whisky Industry

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Commerce – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 6th July 1954.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Emrys Hughes Mr Emrys Hughes , South Ayrshire 12:00 am, 6th July 1954

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will request the Monopolies Commission to investigate and report on the whisky industry in view of the fact that one group of distillers provide more than one-third of the total output of whisky for this country.

Photo of Mr Henry Strauss Mr Henry Strauss , Norwich South

My right hon. Friend will bear this in mind when he selects further matters for reference to the Monopolies Commission.

Photo of Mr Emrys Hughes Mr Emrys Hughes , South Ayrshire

Can the hon. and learned Gentleman give an assurance that this matter will not be subject to the censorship of the 1922 Committee?

Photo of Colonel Sir Alan Gomme-Duncan Colonel Sir Alan Gomme-Duncan , Perth and East Perthshire

Can my hon. and learned Friend explain how a group which controls only one-third of the output of the industry can possibly be considered to be a monopoly?

Photo of Mr Henry Strauss Mr Henry Strauss , Norwich South

That, curiously enough, is possible under the Statute.

Photo of Mr Richard Stokes Mr Richard Stokes , Ipswich

Assuming the Minister's decision to be favourable, namely, that this matter will be investigated by the Monopolies Commission, whatever may be the facts with regard to the home trade, will he bear in mind the fact that export whisky, especially to dollar areas, is virtually a monopoly and that, as a consequence, the Americans pay only one dollar 10 cents now as compared with one dollar before the war? That is about 8s. Is it not time that this matter was put right and the distillers put in order?

Photo of Mr Henry Strauss Mr Henry Strauss , Norwich South

That is a little wide of the Question, but, if the matter does go to the Monopolies Commission, that Commission can hardly remain ignorant of the views of the right hon. Gentleman.