asked the Prime Minister whether the Standing Committee on Rings, Trusts and Combines, which was officially stated to be investigating for the purpose of promised Government legislation, had a final meeting on 18th May, 1921, and unanimously passed a resolution that this inquiry should not be allowed to lapse; whether he is aware that the Committee served without remuneration, so that it could have continued investigations in spite of the lapse of Section 3 of the Profiteering Act; and whether the whole of the work of the Committee has been made available to the public?
This question has been referred to the President of the Board of Trade. The answer to the first part is in the affirmative. No remuneration was paid to the members of the Committee, but after the expiration of the Profiteering Acts no powers remained under which the production of evidence could be compelled. All the results of the Standing Committee's work have been made available to the public so far as was compatible with the provisions of the Acts regarding confidential evidence.
asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware that it was officially stated on 20th June, 1920, that the reason for the delay in introducing legislation dealing with trusts and combines was that the Committee was still investigating and, on 22nd November, 1920, that the Government proposals would be based upon the recommendations of the Committee appointed in 1918 and which reported in 1919; whether the Government have now come to the end of the period of consideration; and, if so, when the promised Bill will be introduced?
This question also has been referred to the President of the Board of Trade. My right hon. Friend is aware of the statement made on the 22nd November, 1920, but he is unable to identify the first answer referred to. With regard to the last two parts of the question I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the answer given to him by the Leader of the House on the 15th February last.