Given that the Price Code Order that we shall be debating tonight was published some time ago, is there not a clear-cut case in the light of recent events for further and immediate relief in the areas of investment, profits and land?
No, I think not. I hope to convince the House this evening that the revision which we propose will give all these companies a chance to increase prices, to increase profits and to invest. It will give them the opportunity to do so, and that remains our policy.
As the hon. Gentleman will imagine, during the past five weeks I have been considering price control techniques, mechanisms and philosophies in other countries. I have noted with interest the systems that operate in diverse social systems such as Sweden and France. They are extensive "inspector" systems which send Government representatives to retail outlets in a way that would produce an outcry from Opposition Members if we contemplated any such system. I think that the hon. Gentleman will have to bide his time and wait for the summer, when the present price control system runs out, to hear my conclusions on the system.