asked the Minister of Food to what extent the difference in the price of linseed oil, £90 per ton f.o.b. Uruguay and £170 per ton as sold by his Department in England, exceeds freight and insurance charges; and if he will account for the excess.
We have not yet been able to buy linseed oil from any country at £90 per ton f.o.b. As regards the second part of the Question, our selling price, as my right hon. Friend informed the hon. Member for Newbury (Mr. Hurd) on 9th March, is based on the cost of imported materials to the Ministry and not on current prices in particular markets.
Will the right hon. Lady say why the Ministry's bulk selling price is so far above the market price in other importing countries?
I think the hon. Gentleman knows that if any commodity is bought by bulk purchase the price at which it is sold retail cannot always be a reflection of the current price.
Is the right hon. Lady aware that Uruguay is offering 5,000 tons of linseed oil at £106 a ton? How much of that do the Government propose to buy?
The hon. Gentleman surely must know that I cannot say such a thing without negotiations.
Can the right hon. Lady inform the House of the price paid for the last bulk purchase and the quantity bought?
I should not like to inform the House now because we are at the moment negotiating for some more linseed.