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Price Commission Act 1977

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This is the original version (as it was originally enacted).

6Investigations

(1)Where the Commission have given a notification to the Secretary of State in pursuance of section 4(1) or 5(1) of this Act in respect of an increase or a price or margin, it shall be the duty of the Commission, subject to the following subsection—

(a)to carry out an investigation as to whether the increase or the price or margin should be wholly or partly restricted;

(b)to complete the investigation and make a report to the Secretary of State in consequence of it before the expiration of—

(i)in the case of an increase, the period of four months beginning with the date when notice of the increase was given as mentioned in section 4(1) of this Act, and

(ii)in the case of a price or margin, the period of three months beginning with the date when notification of the investigation was given to the Secretary of State in pursuance of the preceding section; and

(c)as soon as they have given the report to the Secretary of State, to give a copy of it to the relevant person.

(2)The functions conferred on the Commission by the preceding subsection in respect of an increase or a price or margin shall cease if notice in pursuance of section 4(3) or (4) of this Act or subsection (5) of file preceding section is given by the Secretary of State or the Commission in respect of the increase or a notification relating to the increase or in respect of the price or margin.

(3)The Commission shall, if so required by a notice given to the Commission by the relevant person within the period of fourteen days beginning with the date when the copy of the notification of the investigation was given to him in pursuance of section 4(2)(a) or 5(2) of this Act, hold a public inquiry in connection with an investigation in pursuance of this section; and paragraphs 15 and 16 of Schedule 1 to the 1973 Act (which relate to inquiries) shall apply to an inquiry in pursuance of this subsection as they apply to an inquiry under that Act but as if in paragraph 15(1) of that Schedule the words from the beginning to the first " and " were omitted.

(4)The Commission shall, if so required by a notice given as mentioned in the preceding subsection, give to the relevant person or to a person appointed by him an opportunity of making representations in person to a member of the Commission about the increase, price or margin in question before the investigation is completed.

(5)A report in pursuance of subsection (1) of this section must include—

(a)a statement of the findings of fact made by the Commission in the course of the investigation to which the report relates;

(b)subject to the following subsection—

(i)a recommendation by the Commission as to whether the increase or the price or margin in question should be wholly or partly restricted and as to the duration of any recommended restriction, and

(ii)if the report relates to an increase, a recommendation by the Commission as to whether the price to which the increase relates, as increased by the increase or part of it or without the increase, should not be increased during any particular period ; and

(c)a statement of the Commission's reasons for making the recommendations;

and subject to the following subsection a recommendation in pursuance of paragraph (b) of this subsection in respect of an increase may, if in the opinion of the Commission the increase relates to goods or services of different descriptions or to be supplied in different circumstances, recommend different restrictions as respects the different descriptions of goods or services or the different circumstances.

(6)A recommendation in pursuance of paragraph (b) of the preceding subsection shall not recommend—

(a)the restriction of an increase or part of it—

(i)on or after the date on which, by virtue of a variation notice, section 4(2)(b) of this Act ceases to apply to the increase or, as the case may be, the part is not restricted by virtue of the said section 4(2)(b), or

(ii)after the expiration of the period of twelve months beginning with the date when the Commission received the notice mentioned in section 4(1) of this Act in respect of the increase;

(b)that in a case falling within paragraph (b)(ii) of the preceding subsection the price in question be not increased during any period after the expiration of the period mentioned in paragraph (a)(ii) above;

(c)the restriction of a price so as to make the amount of it—

(i)less than it was, or was quoted as being, at the beginning of the period of twenty-eight days ending with the day when the copy of the notification in consequence of which the recommendation is made was given to the relevant person in pursuance of subsection (2) of the preceding section, or

(ii)less than is authorised by a variation notice relating to the price ;

(d)the restriction of a price after, or of a margin by reference to a period after, the expiration of the period of twelve months beginning with the date when the notification in consequence of which the recommendation is made was given to the Secretary of State in pursuance of the preceding section;

and in this subsection references to a variation notice shall be construed in accordance with subsection (6) of section 4 of this Act or, as the case may require, in accordance with that subsection as modified by subsection (4) of the preceding section and the reference to quotation of an amount shall be construed in accordance with subsection (3) of the preceding section.

(7)Nothing in this section shall be construed as preventing the Commission from including in a report any matter which the Commission are not required by virtue of subsection (5) of this section to include in the report, or by virtue of the preceding subsection to exclude from the report, but consider should be included in it.

(8)In preparing a report in pursuance of subsection (1) of this section the Commission shall have regard to the need for excluding, so far as it is practicable to do so—

(a)any matter which relates to the private affairs of an individual where the publication of that matter would or might, in the opinion of the Commission, seriously and prejudicially affect the interests of that individual; and

(b)any matter which relates specifically to the affairs of a particular person where publication of that matter would or might, in the opinion of the Commission, seriously and prejudicially affect the interests of that person,

except any matter which in the opinion of the Commission is necessary for the purposes of the report; and for the purposes of the law relating to defamation every publication of such a report, and of such a report from which matter has been deleted in pursuance of the following subsection, shall be absolutely privileged.

(9)It shall be the duty of the Secretary of State to lay before each House of Parliament a copy of each report made to him in pursuance of subsection (1) of this section and to arrange for each such report to be published in a manner which he considers appropriate; but if he considers that it would be against the public interest to publish any of the findings of fact included in pursuance of subsection (5)(a) of this section in such a report he may delete the findings in question from the report before laying copies of it and arranging for its publication in pursuance of this subsection.

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