§ 10. Mr. Barry Field
To ask the President of the Board of Trade what plans he has to review the legislation preventing a Monopolies and Mergers Commission inquiry reconvening to review the effect of its recommendations.
§ Mr. Neil Hamilton
Where appropriate, the Director General of Fair Trading may be asked to review the effectiveness of measures taken following a report by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission. He also has a general duty to keep markets under review. Where he has concerns about the competitive situation, he may ask the MMC to look again at markets that have been the subject of previous investigation by the commission.
§ Mr. Field
May I be the first Conservative Member to congratulate my hon. Friend on his appointment? As he saved the nation from the roof tax in a memorable speech, I hope that I can invite him to save the nation from a number of perverse decisions by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission—such as the decision on the brewers, which has thoroughly upset all the landlords and beer drinkers of the nation, the decision on gas prices which has put the horticulturalists in a parlous state, and the report on Isle of Wight ferries which said that we had the most expensive ferries in the world but drew no conclusions. Will my hon. Friend either amend the legislation so that in future the Monopolies and Mergers Commission must reconvene within nine months to reconsider the results of its actions, or abolish that last reservoir of state-subsidised socialism for ever?
§ Mr. Hamilton
I cannot satisfy my hon. Friend on his last point, but he may be aware that the chairmanship of the commission becomes vacant later in the year. If he would like to apply for the job, he might be able to sort it out himself.