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Antique Dealers (Buyer's Premium)

Volume 14: debated on Thursday 3 December 1981

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether, in view of the difficulties encountered by the Office of Fair Trading in being voluntarily furnished with all necessary information by the British Antique Dealers' Association and the Society of London Art Dealers for the purposes of investigation into the alleged collusion by Christie's and Sotheby's in connection with the introduction in 1975 of the buyer's premium, he will make it his policy not to regard the British Antique Dealers' Association and the Society of London Art Dealers as representative of the fine art and antique trade for consultative purposes.

No. It would not be appropriate to base the Department's consultation procedures on the progress of an investigation by the Office of Fair Trading.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether, pursuant to his answer of 24 November, Official Report, c. 335, he is satisfied that the Office of Fair Trading is being supplied with all information necessary to its investigation of alleged collusion by Christie's and Sotheby's in connection with the introduction of the buyer's premium.

The conduct and progress of investigations under the Restrictive Trade Practices Act 1976 is a matter for the Director General of Fair Trading, and I am not in a position to comment on the adequacy or otherwise of the information he has received.