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Subsidies

Volume 437: debated on Monday 12 May 1947

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29.

asked the Minister of Food the food items on which there is going to be a withdrawal or reduction of subsidy.

I must ask the hon. Member to wait for the announcements which are made whenever controlled food prices change in either direction.

Can the Minister give an indication as to the date of the announcement?

In that case would the Minister recall what the Chancellor of the Exchequer said a few weeks ago when he intimated to the House that we could expect such changes in the near future and that the Minister of Food would be the one to acquaint us?

No, Sir, I know of no such announcement. Various changes of food prices have been made over the past three months of which I gave the hon. Member a list. There may be others.

Will the Minister bear in mind, and also impress it on his colleagues, that this policy of food subsidies has been of tremendous importance both in securing a just distribution of food and in restraining the wages-prices spiral? Will he give this his closest consideration?

Yes, Sir, we regard this as of the utmost importance, and a most substantial figure has already been announced to be expended on food subsidies in the coming financial year.

Does not the Minister agree that it is a great extravagance that the Treasury should have to bear no less than two-thirds of the cost of home-made cheese, the demand for which is far in excess of the supply?

If the hon. Member thinks it would be a good thing to allow the price of cheese to rise to an unsubsidised level, I cannot agree.