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Ministry's Trading Operations

Volume 485: debated on Wednesday 14 March 1951

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asked the Minister of Food what are the unsubsidised foods which may have to be sold at prices below cost and for which a provision of £2,500,000 possible loss has been made; and how this unsatisfactory position has arisen.

This provision was made in the accounts to cover possible losses in disposing of stocks of certain kinds of canned or frozen fish, dried and fresh fruit and fruit pulps, canned meat and offals, poultry, rabbits and hares. Sales of these particular foods fell off in the early part of 1950 owing to the greater quantity and variety of foods available to the public, and as is the normal practice in business, prices were reduced. It is by no means unusual for traders dealing in a large number of different commodities to make losses at certain times on particular lines; and this provision should be viewed against the fact that in the financial year ended 31st March last year, trading in all varieties of these commodities resulted in an overall profit to my Department of over £5 million.