Orders of the Day — Commission for Industry and Manpower Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 8th April 1970.

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Photo of Mr Robert Carr Mr Robert Carr , Mitcham 12:00 am, 8th April 1970

But that does not invalidate the case for the registrar. The Government did not, therefore, abolish the Registrar of Restrictive Trade Practices, although they happened to find circumstances which, in their judgment—whether everyone agreed is another matter—justified altering his powers and terms of reference. But that is a perfectly logical and democratic thing to do. It was not the same as saying that there should be no registrar. We consider that there should be a registrar in this case, not only from the point of view of reference, but also—I come to this now—in connection with the procedures of the Commission.

We believe that it would be to the advantage of both the Commission and of industry, and to the advantage of the respect of one for the other, as well as the quality of the Commission's work, if we could separate the investigatory and presentational work from what I would call the judgment. We believe, therefore, that the registrar, properly staffed, should be given the duty of preparing and presenting cases to the Commission for consideration.

Next, I come to the vital question of making size of itself a criterion for reference to the Commission. This is a new criterion. We object to it most strongly. The only valid test for reference, in our view, is market power and limited competition.