§ Mr. Stanley
I beg to move, in page 9, line 29, at the beginning, to insert:Except in the case of goods of a description' as to which there is for the time being in force an order made by the Board of Trade-directing that this Sub-section shall not have effect in relation thereto,This manuscript Amendment has been put down to meet the point raised by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Peckham (Mr. Silkin). The hon. Gentleman, on the Committee stage, raised some very interesting and, I think, cogent points with regard to the danger of omitting auction sales altogether from the scope of this Bill. He pointed out—and I think it is impossible, at any rate in theory, to put up an answer to it—that 1823 it people were so minded and took the trouble to organise them, they might, by auction sales of certain goods, defeat the whole purpose of the Bill in relation to those goods. We were convinced that we must have some power in the Bill to prevent that happening. On the other hand, we think that there are a great number of auctions, of a type to which the hon. Gentleman himself referred, which it would be not only undesirable, but quite impracticable, to bring within the scope of the Bill. After consideration, I thought that the only possible course was to do what is done in this Amendment: that is, if I found that auctions of particular classes of goods were being used to defeat the purpose of the Bill in respect of that type of goods, to make an order removing that type of goods from the exemption which is given under the Clause, so that an auction for that type of goods would fall under the scope of the Bill.
§ 6.28 p.m.
§ Mr. Silkin
I am very grateful to the right hon. Gentleman who, I am satisfied, has appreciated the difficulties arising out of the Clause as it stands, and has made a genuine attempt to meet those difficulties. I quite understand that this has had to be done in a great hurry, but I feel that he has not met the difficulty that I put before the Committee. The difficulty is not so much that certain kinds of goods might lend themselves to abuses of the Act, but that certain kinds of auction in themselves were capable of being abused. I should have been grateful if the right hon. Gentleman had directed his mind to the kinds of auction sales about which I complained, rather than to kinds of goods. I gave an example of the kind of so-called auction which takes place on Saturday night in a market at the end of a day's business, when people buy goods on the representation that they are getting them very cheaply, although in fact they may be paying more than the permitted price. Under the terms of this Clause such a sale would be a sale by auction, and would be exempt.
Then there are the so-called auctions, to which I referred, which are known as Dutch auctions. They are held in so-called auction rooms, where you do not get genuine bidding but a process of beating down until some fool is ready to buy 1824 at the price named, and even that price might be one above the permitted price. I felt that possibly it might be met by the definition of the term "auction," but the right hon. Gentleman finds that that is not practicable, and I do not think that he has met the case here by merely limiting his powers to dealing with particular kinds of goods. I suggest that he should do what was done in the case of another Clause, let the Amendment go and reconsider it with a view to introducing a further Amendment in another place. I think that in the circumstances it would be the best course to take in view of the difficulties.
§ Mr. Stanley
I am always ready to discuss with hon. Members this very difficult problem, but that must not be taken that I am really holding out the likelihood of introducing a further Amendment. We have thought out the matter very carefully and have considered the possibility of the definition of the particular kind of auction, and we decided that it was quite impracticable. I feel that the best way to avoid the dangers, which I appreciate, and which the hon. Member pointed out, is the Amendment which has been proposed.
§ Amendment agreed to.