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Trade Organisations

Volume 387: debated on Tuesday 23 March 1943

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32.

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will appoint a committee of the same kind that was appointed in February, 1918, for the purpose of considering the probable extension of trade organisations, combinations, trusts and cartels, to consider and report on what action should be taken to safeguard the public interest?

I do not propose to appoint such a committee at the present time, but I fully appreciate the importance of the questions to which my hon. Friend refers, and I will keep his suggestion in mind.

Does my right hon. Friend agree that monopoly control is the greatest menace to the future of the people, and, if he does, would he consult the Prime Minister in order to draw his attention to the fact that it is no use making statements in speeches unless concrete steps of the kind suggested in the Question are taken?

I think that the steps that are being taken to control prices and profits are more effective than setting up another committee. I do not regard the procedure in the last war as one to be copied. A committee was then set up, but it was late in the day-and was ineffective, and it was followed by very inadequate legislation. We are doing very much better.