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Flour Milling (Payments)

Volume 439: debated on Wednesday 9 July 1947

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asked the Minister of Food what total payments have been made for the milling of flour in respect of each year between 1939 and the latest date for which figures are available; and what amount has, in each year, represented the profit element under the terms of the agreement between his Department and the milling firms.

The total payments made to millers on account of flour milling, including an as yet undetermined element of profit, during each of the years ended 31st August, 1940, to 1946, are as follow: Year to 31st August, 1940, £17,700,000; 1941, £33,800,000; 1942. £20,100,000; 1943; £30,600,000; 1944, £37,500,000; 1945, £30,600,000. 1946, £39,000,000.

As the cost of wheat purchased and the subsidised selling price of flour are not under the control of the millers, payments on account are made to them by the Ministry to put them in funds to continue milling. As these payments are based on estimated average costs of production and distribution, the profit element cannot be ascertained until all millers' financial accounts, showing actual trading results, are received. These accounts, of course, bring into credit the payments on account received from the Mniistry. After the figures have been agreed, the profit element is established and final settlements are made. Although considerable progress has been made in agreeing these accounts, particularly for the early years of control, for various reasons it has not yet been possible to finalise the position in respect of any control year.