Travel Trade

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Industry – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 9th July 1973.

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Photo of Mr Hugh Dykes Mr Hugh Dykes , Harrow East 12:00 am, 9th July 1973

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will hold urgent discussions with the travel and tour operators' industry on the creation of a draft code of conduct for consumer protection in advance of the appointment of a Director General of Fair Trading.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Howe Mr Geoffrey Howe , Reigate

The Association of British Travel Agents already operates a code of conduct which includes provisions relating to conduct between its members and the public.

Photo of Mr Hugh Dykes Mr Hugh Dykes , Harrow East

Does my right hon. and learned Friend agree that that answer might be regarded as a little complacent, which is extremely uncharacteristic of him? The situation is urgent. Does he agree that many thousands of holidaymakers are seriously disadvantaged and are in considerable difficulty as a result of the exchange crisis, but that there are also less immediate problems, such as the premature cancellation of holidays? Does he not feel that it is time to have more fundamental discussions with the industry in advance of the Director General's appointment?

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Howe Mr Geoffrey Howe , Reigate

As I have already pointed out, the association has a code of conduct dealing in particular with the point raised by my hon. Friend, including the alteration of holiday bookings already made. In addition, an amendment to the Fair Trading Bill which is under discussion in another place today will give the Director General a specific and identifiable responsibility for the promotion of codes of conduct of this kind.

Photo of Alan Williams Alan Williams , Swansea West

As the Minister will not accede to the request to act before the Fair Trading Bill becomes law, while it is still going through the House will he consider investigating, with a view possibly to taking legal action, the activities revealed in the Sunday Times and Daily Mirror of a pyramid sales firm called Memory World which sells its products at five times the normal market price on the cruelly fraudulent and medically discredited ground that they will prevent breast cancer?

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Howe Mr Geoffrey Howe , Reigate

The hon. Gentleman's supplementary question does not arise directly out of that which is before the House, but investigations are being made into some of the claims made by the company concerned to which the hon. Gentleman has referred.