Mergers (Economic and Social Consequences)

Oral Answers to Questions — Employment and Productivity – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 4 December 1969.

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Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , West Lothian 12:00, 4 December 1969

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity what studies she is making of the economic and social consequences of mergers which have taken place.

Photo of Mrs Barbara Castle Mrs Barbara Castle , Blackburn

The results of a pilot research study commissioned by the Government have recently become available and are being studied to see whether a broader programme of research would be worth while.

Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , West Lothian

What discoveries are emerging about the long-term effects of mergers?

Photo of Mrs Barbara Castle Mrs Barbara Castle , Blackburn

As I explained in my answer, what we have carried out so far is a pilot study, the object of which was to attempt to assess the development flowing from a merger which took place five years ago. We are now considering whether a more extensive programme, involving a number of mergers and dealing also with more general studies would be worthwhile.

Photo of Mr Dudley Smith Mr Dudley Smith , Warwick and Leamington

Has the right hon. Lady had her attention called to the debate late last night when the whole question of the merger of the Prices and Incomes Board and the Monopolies Commission was condemned on all sides? In view of the outstanding speech by her right hon. Friend the Member for Batter-sea, North (Mr. Jay), a former President of the Board of Trade, who proved conclusively that this was a bad thing, would she look at it again?

Photo of Mrs Barbara Castle Mrs Barbara Castle , Blackburn

I am sure that the hon. Gentleman is aware that this is an entirely different question. I would be very happy indeed to deal with the merits of the proposed merger at the appropriate time.