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Restrictive Practices

Volume 131: debated on Thursday 14 April 1988

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To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will list all industries and professions which have been the subject of a referral by the Government to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission, as part of the process to eliminate restrictive practices, since 1979.

Agreements subject to the Restrictive Trade Practices Act 1976 are not referred to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission, but are registered by the Director General of Fair Trading, who may refer them to the Restrictive Practices Court.The Fair Trading Act 1973 gives both the Director General of Fair Trading and Ministers powers to make monopoly references to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission. Ministers may also make general references under section 78 of the 1973 Act, and references as to restrictive labour practices under section 79 of that Act. The Competition Act 1980 gives the Director General of Fair Trading powers to refer anti-competitive practices. A list of all such references made to the commission since the beginning of 1979 is as follows:

Monopoly references under the Fair Trading Act 1973
Full title of referenceYear of reference
Supply of Tampons1979
Full line forcing and tie-in sales1979
Supply of Liquefied Petroleum Gas1979
Inner London Letter Post1979
Supply of Concrete Roofing Tiles1979
Supply of Ready-Mixed Concrete1979
Wholesale Supply of Motor Car Parts1980
Supply of Films for Exhibition in Cinemas1980
Supply of Pitches for Holiday Caravans in Northern Ireland1981
Full title of referenceYear of reference
Supply of Contraceptive Sheaths1981
Supply of Animal Waste1982
Supply of White Salt1983
Supply, maintenance and repair of Postal Franking Machines1983
Supply of Tampons1984
Supply of agency services by travel agents for tour operators in relation to the marketing and supply of foreign package holidays1984
Supply of the services of managing greyhound tracks1984
Supply of Steel Wire Fencing1984
Supply of Marine Radio Navigation Receivers1985
Supply of Pest Control Services1986
Supply of Beer1986
Supply of the services of advertising in magazines for Campers, Climbers and Walkers1987
Supply of Credit Card Services1987
Supply of Codeine1987
Supply of Gas to Contract Customers1987
Supply of Artificial Lower Limbs1987
Advertising rules of Osteopaths1988
Advertising rules of Civil Engineers1988
Reference under Section 78 of the 1973 Act
Broadcasting and Public Performance Rights in Sound Recordings1988
Reference under Section 79 of the 1973 Act
Restrictive Labour Practices in Television and Film Making1988
Anti-competitive practice references under the Competition Act 1980
TI Raleigh Bicycles1981
Sheffield Newspapers Ltd.1981
London Electricity Board1982
Ford Motor Company1984
British Broadcasting Corporation and Independent Television Publication Ltd.1985

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will list all those professions currently under examination by the Government as part of the process to eliminate restrictive practices.

The Director General of Fair Trading has a statutory duty to keep commercial activities under review, and this includes the behaviour of the professions. The Government, in developing their policies, give a high priority to competition. We have also stated in the recent Green Paper, "Review of Restrictive Trade Practices Policy", (Cm. 331) that exemptions from the current restrictive trade practices legislation, including those for professional services, will not be automatically carried across into the new legislation, but will have to be justified afresh.