§ Dr. John A. Cunningham
I beg to move Amendment No. 11, in page 4, line 39, leave out from beginning to 'are' in line 1 on page 5 and insert:
- (a) it is in writing and made between two or more persons carrying on business in the production or supply of petroleum and—
- (i) is made by them with the Secretary of State and each other, and
- (ii) contains a power for the Secretary of State to terminate it on the ground that its continuance is no longer expedient in the national interest;
- (b) no such restrictions are accepted under it as would (apart from this subsection) make it subject to registration under the 1976 Act, other than restrictions—
- (i) in respect of the matters mentioned in section 6(1)(a) to (c) of the Act (regulations of prices and terms and conditions of sale), and
- (ii) relating only to petroleum;
- (c) it is so expressed that restrictions under it in respect of those matters are operative when, and only when, there is for the time being in force an Order in Council under section 3 of this Act.
§ (1A) Without prejudice to the foregoing, an agreement made at a time when there is in force such an Order in Council and satisfying the conditions set out below, is exempt from registration under the 1976 Act (subject to this section) while the Order is in force.
§ (2) The conditions for exemption under subsection (1A) above'.
§ Dr. Cunningham
As my hon. Friend the then Minister said in Committee, we have examined the possibility of widening the exemptions under Clause 5 during an emergency to include agreements regulating price and terms and conditions of sale falling under Section 6(1)(a) to (c) of the Restrictive Trade Practices Act 1976. This amendment meets the Opposition's point. However, because it is in our view essential that any price regime introduced in a crisis is acceptable to the 1722 Government of the day, we have made it a condition of exemption that any price agreements or agreements about terms and conditions of sale must be made with the Secretary of State. In addition the Secretary of State, by virtue of paragraph (a) (ii) of the amendment, would be able to terminate any exempted price agreement if he considered this necessary in the national interest during an emergency.
I hope that the House will accept this amendment, which reflects the Government's intention that arrangements for oil allocation in a crisis should be practicable and effective, and our recognition that the oil industry has a vital role to play in such a task. The exemptions provided in Clause 5 together with the qualifications as to their activation and continuation provide in our view a carefully balanced response to a real problem.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Amendments made: No. 12, in page 5, line 25, leave out 'this section' and insert subsection (1A) above'.
§ No. 13, in page 5, line 28, leave out 'this section' and insert 'subsection (1A)'.
§ No. 14, in page 5, line 34, leave out 'this section' and insert 'subsection (1A)'.—[Dr. J. Dickson Mabon.]
§ Dr. J. Dickson Mabon
I beg to move Amendment No. 15, in page 6, line 3, at end insert'and section 35 of that Act (failure to register within time required) shall apply accordingly.'.This is simply a tidying-up amendment to ensure that in cases where, under the terms of Clause 5(5) of the Bill, an agreement ceases to be exempt but continues in force and subject to the provisions of the Restrictive Trade Practices Act 1976, the enforcement provisions of Section 35 of that Act in respect of failure to register in time are applicable.
§ Amendment agreed to.