Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Take-over Bids and Mergers

Oral Answers to Questions — Board of Trade – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 13th March 1968.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Julian Ridsdale Mr Julian Ridsdale , Harwich 12:00 am, 13th March 1968

asked the President of the Board of Trade, in view of the recent big, mergers in industry, what steps he is taking to increase the power of the Monopolies Commission to control takeover bids and mergers.

Photo of Mr Anthony Crosland Mr Anthony Crosland , Grimsby

I consider that my present powers, both to refer mergers to the Monopolies Commission and to act on their conclusions, are adequate.

Photo of Mr Julian Ridsdale Mr Julian Ridsdale , Harwich

Surely our present monopolies legislation does not protect the individual in this country nearly as much as the anti-trust laws in the United States? Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware of the growing concern of many people in the country about the concentration of power in the hands of a few individuals either in the State or in industry?

Photo of Mr Anthony Crosland Mr Anthony Crosland , Grimsby

A lot of people with knowledge of the American situation would have grave doubts about what the hon. Gentleman says in the first part of his supplementary question about how effective American anti-trust legislation is. On the second part, this is not fundamentally a problem of power. The Government have the power which they need. To put it crudely, both political parties and industry are slightly schizophrenic about this. On the one hand, we want mergers and rationalisation in many industries. On the other hand, we have our traditional obligation to protect the consumer.

Photo of Mr Robert Sheldon Mr Robert Sheldon , Ashton-under-Lyne

Can my right hon. Friend say when he expects to be in a position to announce the action he intends to take following the Report on manmade fibres by the Monopolies Commission?

Photo of Mr Anthony Crosland Mr Anthony Crosland , Grimsby

I have already made a statement about this matter in which I said that we are setting up a tariff inquiry of the kind proposed by the Monopolies Commission. As to its other recommendations, we propose at once to start discussing the possible outcome with Courtaulds.

Photo of Sir Keith Joseph Sir Keith Joseph , Leeds North East

Does the right hon. Gentleman mean by his first reply to this Question that he regards acceptance of some of the recommendations of the Monopolies Commission on the manmade fibres theme as being outside his present powers and that he does not mind their being outside his powers? In other words, is he not following up the recommendation of the Monopolies Commission that Courtaulds, in this case, should not carry its purchasing any further in certain sectors of the textile industry?

Photo of Mr Anthony Crosland Mr Anthony Crosland , Grimsby

No; I am not conscious that what I said could have given rise to that interpretation. What I have said, and what I repeat, is that we are discussing the recommendations with Courtaulds, but in the light of the Government's declared policy to encourage rationalisation of the textile industry.