asked the President of the Board of Trade what progress is being made in his general review of monopolies and restrictive practices; and what proposals he has for the introduction of further legislation on the subject.
As I told the House on 30th January, my Department is undertaking a comprehensive review of policy and legislation on monopolies and restrictive practices. Until this review is complete I cannot say whether further legislation is necessary.
asked the President of the Board of Trade, in view of the controversy aroused by the Imperial Chemical Industries bid to take over Courtaulds, and the new situation arising from this bid, if he will establish a committee to investigate the whole system of take-over bids, especially when quasi-monopolies and other restrictive practices are involved affecting the public interest, and to report quickly what further steps should be taken to protect the public interest; and if he will make a statement.
No. The comprehensive review of policy and legislation on monopolies and restrictive practices now being undertaken in my Department covers the broad policy aspects of this subject, whilst, as I said in reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Belfast, North (Mr. Stratton Mills) on 5th March, the Jenkins Committee has been asked to consider, in relation to take-over bids, the duties of directors and the rights of shareholders. I do not think it would assist matters to set up a third body for the purpose suggested by my hon. Friend.