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Clause 5. — (the Board's Reports.)

Part of Orders of the Day — Prices and Incomes Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 9th August 1966.

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Photo of Sir Elwyn Jones Sir Elwyn Jones , West Ham South 12:00 am, 9th August 1966

I see the point which the hon. Gentleman is making, but I invite him to consider the precise terms of the subsection which we are considering, the positive duty imposed on the Board to exclude matters which relate to the private affairs of any citizen, save within the realm of necessity of producing a coherent report.

I revert again, without apology, to the experience of the Monopolies Commission which touches the most sensitive part of industrial and business affairs and can deal with secrets and processes for the purposes of comparison. The Act gives the Commission power to disclose even those matters if it is necessary to give coherence and sense to the Commission's Report. I should have thought that one would be reassured by that experience.

I remind the House of the precise terms of paragraph 14(2) of Schedule 1 which provides protection for the private person.

The terms of the paragraph are: (2) No person shall be compelled for the purposes of any such inquiry to give any evidence or produce any document which he could not be compelled to give or produce in proceedings before the High Court or, in complying with any requirement for the furnishing of information, to give any information which he could not be compelled to give in evidence in such proceedings. The individual will therefore enjoy the same protection as the witness in the High Court, for instance, on grounds of professional privilege, or that the evidence he was called on to give would be incriminating and that he had the right of protection against self-information. Those provisions are embodied in the machinery of this Bill.

I cannot enter into the case mentioned by the hon. Member for Portsmouth,