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Sweets (Profit Margin)

Volume 438: debated on Wednesday 4 June 1947

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asked the Minister of Food on what grounds the profit margin on retailed sweets has recently been cut; and whether he is aware that for many small confectioners this reduction, taken in conjunction with reduced tobacco sales, may mean going out of business.

The percentage margin on sweets has been reduced because prices have gone up and the ration has been increased. The retailers' total cash profits will still be higher than they were a year ago.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a vast number of small shopkeepers in this country have to face considerable rises in their own costs, such as rates and other general costs, and that this arbitrary cut in their profits, from which there is no appeal, is very unfair?

The new margin will allow distributors a gross cash profit of £24 million, which is some £5 million higher than a year ago. I cannot feel that they will be driven out of business by this change.