HC Deb 27 July 1961 vol 645 cc588-9
21. Mr. Gresham Cooke

asked the President of the Board of Trade, in view of the fact that after four years of investigation the Monopolies Commission has reported that resale price maintenance does not operate against the public interest so far as the cigarette and tobacco industry is concerned, what steps he proposes to take to ensure that equally comprehensive consideration is given to the merits of resale price maintenance so far as concerns other industries affected by the inquiry which his own Department is making into this subject at the present time.

Mr. Maudling

Resale price maintenance was only one of a large number of matters covered by this investigation. In any case, as my hon. Friend will remember, in the Monopolies Commission's Report an the tobacco industry, as well as the majority view, a minority view was expressed on the effects, as regards public advantage, of resale price maintenance in this industry. When I have before me the results of the Departmental inquiry I shall be able to decide whether any further consideration needs to be given to this problem in respect of other industries.

Mr. Gresham Cooke

Will my right hon. Friend give an assurance that no decision will be given on this extremely important and tendentious matter until the result of his inquiry has been considered by Parliament?

Mr. Maudling

Any action on this matter would involve legislation, so it would certainly have to come before the House.

Mr. Darling

Before we come to legislation, would the Minister care to give us his personal views on the minority observations?

Mr. Maudling

Not at the present moment.