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Bulk Buying Contracts (Prices)

Volume 463: debated on Monday 21 March 1949

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asked the Minister of Food why he will not give the prices paid under his bulk-buying contracts after they have been published by the selling country.

It is usually agreed between the Governments of the buying and selling countries that prices should not be published. Where the Government of the selling country takes it upon itself unilaterally to disclose prices I, of course, consider whether publicity should be given in this country also. But I cannot undertake to confirm or deny unofficial reports about prices which may be current abroad.

When the deal has been concluded, is it not right that the people in both countries should know what prices their Governments have incurred on their behalf?

Is not the real reason for this the fact that if the figures were published they would show up the utter incompetence of the Ministry of Food?

No, Sir. In cases where they have been published they have shown just the reverse.