§ Mr. William Ross
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry in light of the merger of Bass and Irish Distillers, what plans he has to ensure that the trade in alcoholic beverages does not become a monopoly and to provide safeguards for the interests of consumers.
§ Mr. Redwood
[holding answer 22 January 1990]In the event of such a merger situation qualifying for investigation under the merger control provisions of the Fair Trading Act it would be examined in the normal way698W by the Director General of Fair Trading who would advise my right hon. Friend on the competition issues raised and on the question of reference to the MMC. Following the MMC report on the supply of beer, a number of steps have been taken to promote greater competition in the on-licensed trade throughout the United Kingdom. If the hon. Member has any particular concerns about competition in the market for alcoholic beverages he should bring them to the attention of the director general.