asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he is sending any reply to the Birmingham Evening Mail in connection with its article on the activities of Lodge Road Builders, which was sent to the Department at its invitation at the end of January; and if he will publish his reply in the Official Report.
I have read the local press cuttings on this matter with concern. I have passed them to the Director General of Fair Trading in order that he can consider whether he would be justified under part III of the Fair Trading Act 1973 to seek assurances from those concerned that they will refrain from such conduct in future.
Is the Minister aware that part of the problem is that it is impossible for people to contact Lodge Road Builders? Is it not a scandal that con men in firms such as Lodge Road Builders can use "Yellow Pages" to obtain business and can charge extortionate amounts of money for work that is done badly or not at all? Can nothing be done to protect the public against such unscrupulous people?
I am glad that the hon. Gentleman has raised the question. It is a matter of concern and I am looking into it. In this case, the papers have gone to the Office of Fair Trading, and the trading standards department is also looking into the matter to see whether a prosecution would be appropriate. The Supply of Goods and Services Bill, which will come before the House on Friday, and which will codify that area of the law, will also be helpful.