Does my hon. Friend agree that at a time of inflation the need for consumer protection is greater than ever? Does he agree that there should be extra public expenditure to make it possible to continue to open new consumer advice centres throughout the country? Does he further agree that such centres are doing valuable work and preventing a good deal of unnecessary private spending?
He would he a rash man who promised an increase in public expenditure at present, but I agree with my hon. Friend that consumer advice services and price surveys have a significant part to play in the battle against inflation. I hope that we shall continue with them.
Yes, that is one of the ways of beating inflation. However, we cannot have perfect competition without perfect information, and that is why the two activities are complementary.
Will my hon. Friend have a word with the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and suggest that we should possibly opt out of the common agricultural policy, which is now accounting for two-thirds of our deficit with the Common Market countries, an opting out that would mean a great saving for the British housewife?