asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if he has received representations concerning increases in the price charged for the cleaning or rental of industrial clothing during the last two years; and how many such cases he has referred to the Price Commission.
I have received the representations of my hon. Friend on this subject and I referred them to the Chairman of the Price Commission.
Does my hon. Friend agree that pricing policy in this area should receive special and sensitive consideration? Is he aware that the Price Commission is suspected of too easily rubber-stamping substantial price increases, including the case to which I have drawn his attention, in which two price increases were allowed in one year, bringing the charge for one garment from 28p to 38p? Does he not think that that is excessive?
The Price Commission is empowered to investigate such increases and only to permit those which can be justified by allowable cost increases. I have no means of knowing, but I must assume, that the Commission satisfied itself that the allowable cost increases made a rise of this order inevitable.