Price Commission

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 19th November 1979.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Dennis Canavan Dennis Canavan , Stirlingshire West 12:00 am, 19th November 1979

asked the Secretary of State for Trade when he next expects to meet the chairman of the Price Commission.

Photo of Mrs Sally Oppenheim Mrs Sally Oppenheim , Gloucester

My right hon. Friend has no plans to meet the chairman at present.

Photo of Dennis Canavan Dennis Canavan , Stirlingshire West

Now that the Government's counter-inflation strategy seems to be an absolute shambles, with inflation over 17 per cent. and likely to rise to 20 per cent. by the turn of the year, and with more and more people complaining about the high price of food, fuel, clothing and many essential goods and services, will the Government, even at this late stage, abandon their insane proposals to abolish the Price Commission? What we need is more price control, not less.

Photo of Mrs Sally Oppenheim Mrs Sally Oppenheim , Gloucester

I do not accept the hon. Gentleman's diagnosis that the Government's counter-inflation policy is a shambles. If the last Government had had the courage to face economic realities, as we are doing today, the country would not be facing its present problems. As the Price Commission never significantly affected prices in any way, the latter part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question is irrelevant.

Photo of Mr Robin Maxwell-Hyslop Mr Robin Maxwell-Hyslop , Tiverton

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the prices policy of the last Government drove nearly half the suppliers of paraffin out of business? The result of that is that in many rural areas today no paraffin can be obtained for delivery to homes.

Photo of Mrs Sally Oppenheim Mrs Sally Oppenheim , Gloucester

I am aware that the operation of prices policies under the last Government caused prices to more than double. I am also aware of the problems to which my hon. Friend rightly referred.

Photo of David Winnick David Winnick , Walsall North

Are the many companies which donated so generously to the Conservative Party now satisfied with the abolition of the Price Commission?

Photo of Mrs Sally Oppenheim Mrs Sally Oppenheim , Gloucester

The people who donate most generously to the Conservative Party are the people who work for the party on the ground.

Photo of Mr John Smith Mr John Smith , Lanarkshire North

The right hon. Lady rejected the word "shambles" as a desscription of the Government's counter-inflation policy. With inflation heading towards 20 per cent., what word would the right hon. Lady use?

Photo of Mrs Sally Oppenheim Mrs Sally Oppenheim , Gloucester

I would use the word "shambles" to describe the counter-inflation policy of the last Government.