asked the Minister of Food what factors he took into account when authorising the recent increase in the maximum price of soap powders.
The factors taken into account were the increased cost of ingredients, and certain increases in manufacturing, packing and distributive expenses, offset by certain savings from increased production.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that some of the largest manufacturers of soap powders are issuing free purchase vouchers to householders which enable them to buy two packets of their powders for just over the price of one? In view of the enormous sums being spent on this and other advertising devices, is my right hon. Friend really satisfied that this increase was necessary?
Any extra cost incurred by manufacturers in making such offers is not, in fact, allowed for in calculating approved prices. I am quite satisfied that the calculation we made was a fair one and quite accurate.
Is there any real harm in people buying more soap if they really need it?
Is my right hon. Friend also aware of the fantastic amount that is being spent on advertising in film programmes and in the trade Press, particularly of three brands of soap powders which are almost indistinguishable from one another, and that the consumer is having to bear this cost?
Does the right hon. Gentleman hope to be as successful in keeping down prices as his colleagues have been in keeping down railway fares and the price of coal?
Would the right hon. Gentleman have any objection to the hon. Lady putting down a Prayer on this matter?
Does the Minister agree that if this kind of fatless soap and other similar commodities were not advertised they would not be known, that, consequently, they would not be used, and, therefore, could not be manufactured at a reasonable price?