Restrictive Trade Practices Act, 1956

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Commerce – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 29th January 1959.

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Photo of Lieut-Colonel Sir Walter Bromley-Davenport Lieut-Colonel Sir Walter Bromley-Davenport , Knutsford 12:00 am, 29th January 1959

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in view of the fact that the cessation of the Yarn Spinners Price Fixing agreement will lead to unemployment and the closing down of mills, he will review the provisions of Section 21 of the Restrictive Trade Practices Act, 1956, with a view to introducing amending legislation giving a broader interpretation of public interest as regards restrictive trade practices.

Photo of Mr David Eccles Mr David Eccles , Chippenham

No, Sir. Section 21 was debated at length by Parliament when the Act was being passed.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Sir Walter Bromley-Davenport Lieut-Colonel Sir Walter Bromley-Davenport , Knutsford

Will my right hon. Friend give an assurance that he will not close his mind to a possible revision of the Act on the lines suggested in my Question?

Photo of Mr David Eccles Mr David Eccles , Chippenham

For the time being we must see how the Act works. Indeed, this Section is drawn very widely. If my hon. and gallant Friend has any particular changes in mind, perhaps he will let me know.

Photo of Mr Lynn Ungoed-Thomas Mr Lynn Ungoed-Thomas , Leicester North East

Does not the President of the Board of Trade now recognise, in view of the judgment in question, that this is a matter which is quite unsuitable for judicial decision, that it is essentially a matter of policy which ought to be decided by the Government and this House and that the Government are shirking their responsibility when they push it off on to the judges to decide?

Photo of Mr David Eccles Mr David Eccles , Chippenham

No, Sir. The Government take exactly the opposite view, namely, that it is better that restrictive practices of this kind, involving very many interests as they do, should be put before a court of law, as has now happened.