asked the Minister of Labour what progress he has made in obtaining the removal of restrictive practices in industry.
I understand that the hon. Member's Question refers to practices covered by the Restoration of Pre-War Trade Practices Act, 1942. The National Joint Advisory Council have recommended that, in order to avoid any disturbance to production during the coming months, the fixing of the appointed day under that Act shall be deferred for a further twelve months. The Government have welcomed this expression of view, and the necessary steps are in hand.
In dealing with this question, will my right hon. Friend keep in mind the wide practice in restraint of trade which is carried on just now by many suppliers of various commodities?
That is a matter for the President. of the Board of Trade. My right hon. Friend has asked me to say that if particulars are given to him of any such practices, he will look into them.
asked the Minister of Labour, what action he is taking to implement the recommendation of the National Joint Advisory Council that the appointed day under the Restriction of Pre-War Trade Practices Act be postponed for twelve months from 30th December, 1947.
I assume that the hon. Member means to refer to the Restoration of Pre-War Trade Practices Act. The Emergency Laws (Transitional Provisions) Bill presented on 23rd October contains a provision extending to the 31st December, 1948, the period during which the appointed day for the end of the war period under this Act must be fixed.
Would the right hon. Gentleman look again at that Clause in the Bill to which he has referred, and will he consider whether its effect is not merely to enable the right hon. Gentleman, if he so wishes, to make an Order extending the period? Will he look into that aspect?
I am not a lawyer or the person who drafted it, but I can assure the hon. Member and the House that industry on both sides have readily and willingly agreed to the request I made to them that they will postpone the operation of that Act for another year. That has been put into the Bill. Whether it has been put into the Bill in precise terms, I cannot say, but that is the purpose of it.