§ Mr. W. THORNE
asked the Prime Minister if he has seen the Report of the Profiteering Sub-committee on an inquiry into the cost of building materials and the existence of rings and combines in the trade; if he is aware that the Subcommittee states that a few of the combines which have been formed control practically 95 per cent. of the commodities required in the building trade; that the Sub-committee report that various price lists issued by the builders' merchants in London are identically the same both in description and price and state that under present conditions it was useless for any council to advertise for tenders for pipes or earthenware; that the Sub-committee states that there is hardly any item to-day in building construction which is not cornered or controlled by big financiers; that the Committee state that Parliament must free this industry from the control which prevents them reducing the prices; and if the Government intends taking any action in the matter?
§ Mr. BALDWIN
I have been asked to reply. Six reports have been presented dealing with various building materials, and the recommendations contained in them will be borne in mind when permanent legislation as to trade combinations is under consideration. I am unable to admit the accuracy of all the statements in the hon. Member's question.