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Meat Ration (Butchers' Rebate)

Volume 463: debated on Wednesday 13 April 1949

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The following Question stood upon the Order Paper in the name of Mr. DAVID RENTON:

43. To ask the Minister of Food whether he is aware that, now that the total meat ration has been reduced to 10d. per person per week, butchers serving rural areas are unable to distribute the ration without financial loss in spite of the rebate of 4½ per cent. of the wholesale price; and whether he will increase that rebate and, if necessary, make differential rates of rebate as between butchers serving urban and rural areas.

Since I put down this Question the rebate has been reduced, I understand, to 3¾ per cent.

I am advised that the rebate on the wholesale price of meat has been calculated to give an adequate profit to the retail butchery trade. I cannot agree that the costs of rural butchers are on balance higher than those of butchers serving urban areas.

Is the Minister quite ignorant of the fact that rural butchers endeavour to supply meat to their customers by means of a delivery service? Has that delivery service been borne in mind when fixing these so-called profit margins, or was there merely an average struck between town and country? Will he look into the matter further?

I should not have thought that the delivery services were confined to rural butchers, nor that that was the only element in costs and that such costs as rent, would be smaller in the rural areas.