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Price Commission Act 1977

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This is the original version (as it was originally enacted).

Examination by Commission of questions relating to prices and charges

10Directions to examine questions

(1)The Secretary of State may direct the Commission to examine any question relating to prices or charges which is specified in the direction and to make a report to him upon the result of the examination before a date so specified ; and where the Secretary of State proposes to give a direction in pursuance of this subsection it shall be his duty, before deciding whether to give the direction, to consult the Commission and the Director General of Fair Trading about the proposal.

(2)Such a question as is mentioned in the preceding subsection may, except as provided by this subsection, be framed in any way whatsoever and may in particular, without prejudice to the generality of the preceding provisions of this subsection, refer to a specified area, specified descriptions of goods or services, profits, costs, efficiency, reductions in quality without reductions in prices or charges, plans for activities or the use of resources; but such a question must not relate to one person only unless in the opinion of the Secretary of State he is the only person in the United Kingdom who supplies the goods or services to which the question relates in the capacity (whether as manufacturer, wholesaler, retailer, importer or otherwise) in which he supplies them.

(3)The Secretary of State may at any time vary or cancel a direction given by him in pursuance of subsection (1) of this section.

(4)When the Secretary of State gives, varies or cancels such a direction it shall be his duty to publish the direction or particulars of the variation or notice of the cancellation, as the case may be, in such manner as he thinks fit.

11Examinations

(1)Subject to subsection (3) of the preceding section, it shall be the duty of the Commission to comply with a direction given to them in pursuance of subsection (1) of that section to examine and report on a question.

(2)A report in pursuance of the preceding subsection in consequence of an examination must include—

(a)a statement of the findings of fact made by the Commission, in the course of the examination, in connection with the question to which the report relates;

(b)an indication of any matters which the Commission consider are connected with that question and should be remedied;

(c)advice from the Commission with respect to any matter which, in the direction requiring the examination, is specified as a matter on which the Commission's advice is required; and

(d)a statement of the Commission's reasons for indicating the matters indicated in the report and giving the advice contained in the report in pursuance of paragraphs (b) and (c) of this subsection;

but nothing in the preceding provisions of this subsection shall be construed as preventing the Commission from including in such a report any matter which the Commission are not required by virtue of those provisions to include in a report but consider should be included in it.

(3)Subsections (8) and (9) of section 6 of this Act shall apply to a report in pursuance of subsection (1) of this section as if for references to that section and subsection (5)(a) of that section there were substituted respectively references to this section and subsection (2)(a) of this section.

12Undertakings and orders in consequence of reports on examinations

(1)During the period of twenty-eight days beginning with the publication date of a report made in pursuance of subsection (1) of the preceding section, any person who considers that the remedying of matters indicated in the report in pursuance of subsection (2)(b) of that section could affect prices charged or charges made by him may make representations in writing to the Secretary of State as to what should be done in consequence of the indications.

(2)Any such representations may include an undertaking by which the person who makes the representations agrees to be bound, if it is accepted by the Secretary of State, for a period specified in the representations.

(3)The Secretary of State may—

(a)at any time, give notice to a person accepting an undertaking which, by reference to a report made in pursuance of the preceding section, is offered by the person either in pursuance of the preceding subsection or otherwise;

(b)at any time during the period of three months beginning with the publication date of such a report, except during the first twenty-eight days of that period, make an order containing such provisions for regulating any prices or charges as he considers appropriate in consequence of any indications or advice included in the report;

and where the Secretary of State proposes to accept an undertaking or make an order in pursuance of this subsection it shall be his duty, before deciding whether to accept or make it, to consult the Director General of Fair Trading about the proposal.

(4)Without prejudice to the generality of paragraph (b) of the preceding subsection, an order in pursuance of that paragraph may contain such provisions as the Secretary of State considers appropriate in consequence of any indications or advice included in the report in question—

(a)for prohibiting a person who indicates that goods of any kind are or may be for sale by him from indicating—

(i)a price at which another person buying the goods may sell the goods, or

(ii)the charges which such another person may make for services relating to the goods;

(b)for prohibiting a person who indicates that goods of any kind are or may be for sale by him by retail (hereafter in this paragraph referred to as "the seller") from indicating that another person has indicated—

(i)that such goods may be sold by retail at a price higher than a price at which the seller indicates that he will or may sell them, or

(ii)that services relating to such goods may be provided at a charge higher than a charge at which the seller indicates that he will or may provide them ;

but such provisions as are authorised by the preceding provisions of this subsection shall not be included in such an order in respect of goods which are exempted goods for the purposes of the Resale Prices Act 1964.

(5)The Secretary of State may at any time by order vary or revoke an order in force in pursuance of subsection (3)(b) of this section.

(6)An order in pursuance of this section may be framed in such manner as the Secretary of State considers appropriate and may in particular, without prejudice to the generality of the preceding provisions of this section—

(a)make different provision for different circumstances;

(b)contain provisions which apply only, or do not apply, to a particular person or area; and

(c)provide for the enforcement of the order by an authority specified in the order.

(7)An order in pursuance of this section which contains provisions (other than such as are mentioned in subsection (4) of this section) for regulating any price or charge for an indefinite period or for a period exceeding twelve months or for a period which, together with any period for which the price or charge was regulated by virtue of provisions of a previous order in pursuance of this section (other than such as are so mentioned), forms a continuous period of more than twelve months, shall cease to have effect at the expiration of the period of one month beginning with the date on which the order was made unless before the expiration of that month the order has been approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament; and in calculating that month no account shall be taken of any period during which Parliament is dissolved or prorogued or both Houses of Parliament are adjourned for more than four days.

13Enforcement of orders and supervision of undertakings

(1)It shall be the duty of an authority specified in such an order in pursuance of subsection (6)(c) of the preceding section—

(a)to serve or publish, in accordance with paragraph (c) of this subsection, such notices as the authority considers appropriate for the purpose of giving effect to the order other than such provisions of it as are mentioned in subsection (4) of the preceding section ;

(b)to specify in such a notice the prices and charges to which the notice applies and the manner in which, subject to regulations made in pursuance of section 9 of this Act by virtue of subsection (6) of this section, the prices and charges are to be regulated; and

(c)to serve such a notice on each of the persons who charge a price or make a charge to which the notice applies or, if the authority considers it impracticable to serve the notice on each of those persons, to publish the notice as well as or instead of serving it on any of those persons.

(2)A person on whom a notice is served in pursuance of paragraph (c) of the preceding subsection or who considers that he is affected by a notice published as mentioned in that paragraph may, at any time during the period of fourteen days beginning with the date on which the notice was served on him or first so published, make representations about the notice to the authority which served or published it.

(3)An authority which receives representations in pursuance of the preceding subsection about a notice may if it thinks fit vary or revoke the notice in consequence of the representations ; and if it does so it shall be the duty of the authority—

(a)to give notice of the variation or revocation to each person on whom it served the first-mentioned notice; and

(b)if that notice was published in pursuance of subsection (1)(c) of this section, to publish notice of the variation or revocation.

(4)A person who, after the expiration of the period of twenty-eight days beginning with the date when a notice was served on him or first published in pursuance of subsection (1)(c) of this section whichever first occurs, contravenes provisions of the notice which regulate prices or charges shall be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £1,000 or, on conviction on indictment, to a fine.

(5)The Schedule to the Prices Act 1974 (which among other things relates to the enforcement of an order under section 4 of that Act) shall have effect as if the references in paragraph 5 to such an order included references to an order in pursuance of subsection (3)(b) of the preceding section so far as it contains such provisions as are mentioned in subsection (4) of that section and, in relation to an order in pursuance of the said subsection (3)(b) so far as it contains such provisions, with such other amendments and such additions and omissions as are prescribed by regulations.

(6)Section 8 of this Act, except subsection (2)(b), shall have effect in relation to an undertaking accepted in pursuance of the preceding section as if—

(a)for references to the Commission there were substituted references to such authority as the Secretary of State may designate as the supervising authority for the undertaking; and

(b)for references to section 7 of this Act and subsections (3) to (5) of that section there were substituted respectively references to the preceding section and subsections (1) to (3) of that section and the words

effective orwere omitted ;

and section 9(1) of this Act shall have effect as if the reference to any provision of section 7 of this Act included a reference to such a notice as is mentioned in subsection (1) of this section.

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