Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Building Trade Profits.

asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he is aware that members of the Builders' Providers' Association, who also carry on a retail business and deal in Irish manufactured copper piping, have a profit of 32½ per cent, on the goods in question, while retailers, not members of the Builders' Providers' Association, enjoy a profit of 17½ per cent., and if he will take such steps as are necessary to ensure that this unduly high percentage rate of profit is curtailed.

I am aware that, as in the case of many other commodities, firms who buy copper piping in large quantities and who carry on both a wholesale and a retail business, irrespective of whether they are members of the Builders' Providers' Association or not, have the benefit of higher profit margins on their retail sales than those obtained by smaller firms engaged solely in the retail trade. I propose, however, to investigate profit margins generally on building materials and in this connection regard will be had in particular to the margins on copper piping.

Is the Minister aware that, in this trade, people who act as wholesalers also act as retailers and a differentiation is made as between members of the Builders' Providers' Association and non-members of that association, purely on that basis? Is he further aware that non-members who are allowed a profit of 17½ per cent. have to allow a discount of 12½ per cent. to their customers, thus enjoying a profit of 5 per cent., while members of the association have a profit of 32½ per cent.?

With regard to the first portion of the Deputy's supplementary, I am so aware, but this is not peculiar to this particular trade and the whole question is being examined. With regard to the latter portion of the supplementary, I am not familiar with the figures at the moment.