Restrictive Trade Practices

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Commerce – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 22 January 1959.

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Photo of Mr Sydney Irving Mr Sydney Irving , Dartford 12:00, 22 January 1959

asked the President of the Board of Trade what steps are being taken to develop machinery for follow-up investigation of agreements which have to be abandoned either after a decision of the Court of Restrictive Practices or which have been stated to have been abandoned before registration.

Photo of Mr David Eccles Mr David Eccles , Chippenham

The Registrar is responsible for bringing to the attention of the Restrictive Practices Court any breaches of undertakings to or injunctions by the Court of which he becomes aware. No follow-up machinery is needed as regards agreements stated to be abandoned before registration, other than that provided in Section 14 of the Restrictive Trade Practices Act, 1956.

Photo of Mr Sydney Irving Mr Sydney Irving , Dartford

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that 1,200 agreements have been abandoned or varied before reference to the Court and nearly 100 declared illegal or varied after reference to the Court Does he not agree that without adequate machinery the whole legislation will become ineffective and there is no protection for the consumer? Will he reconsider the matter?

Photo of Mr David Eccles Mr David Eccles , Chippenham

I should have thought that the machinery was adequate. If the Registrar has any reason to believe that a restrictive practice exists and has not been registered with him, he can require the details to be given to him. No doubt those who think such a practice exists will approach the Registrar.

Photo of Mr Douglas Jay Mr Douglas Jay , Battersea North

Does the Registrar himself take steps to become aware of any such breaches, or is it the duty of the public to draw his attention to them, or both?

Photo of Mr David Eccles Mr David Eccles , Chippenham

It may happen both ways, but generally I should expect the public to complain.