Price Increases (Complaints)

Oral Answers to Questions — Economic Affairs – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th November 1966.

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Photo of David Winnick David Winnick , Croydon South 12:00 am, 24th November 1966

asked the First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Economic Affairs whether he is satisfied that complaints to his Department about price rises are being satisfactorily dealt with; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mr William Rodgers Mr William Rodgers , Stockton-on-Tees

Yes, Sir. As I explained in reply to the hon. Member for Belfast, North (Mr. Stratton Mills) on 7th November—[Vol. 735; Col. 230]—specific complaints are dealt with by the Government Department with knowledge of the trade or industry concerned. All letters are acknowledged, and in cases where the increase complained of does not seem justified it is taken up with the trader concerned.

Photo of David Winnick David Winnick , Croydon South

Would the Under-Secretary consider working more closely with local consumer groups, so that in the constituencies and regions those groups could become a sort of main local complaint bureau for workers and housewives?

Photo of Mr William Rodgers Mr William Rodgers , Stockton-on-Tees

I entirely agree that local consumer groups have a very important part to play. My hon. Friend may know that my right hon. Friend the First Secretary recently had discussions with the Consumers Association.

Photo of Mrs Margaret Thatcher Mrs Margaret Thatcher , Finchley

Will the hon. Gentleman give a few more facts? Will he say approximately how many complaints have been received; how many have been investigated and found justified, and how many have been investigated and found unjustified?

Photo of Mr William Rodgers Mr William Rodgers , Stockton-on-Tees

As I said in reply to the hon. Member for Belfast, North, we have received about 6,000 complaints since the First Secretary's statement on 12th September. Many of these complaints are still being followed up, but it would give a quite false impression of the way the process is working and the success we are achieving to give any detailed figures.