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Food Subsidies

Volume 498: debated on Tuesday 8 April 1952

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the cost which would be incurred during the present financial year if subsidised foods had been stabilised at March, 1952, prices.

In my Budget statement, I estimated at £50 million the addition to the food subsidies which would be required to hold the prices of subsidised foods at the March, 1952, level. This would have raised the total cost of the subsidies to £460 million.

I asked for a figure for stabilising the figure throughout the year at the March, 1952, prices. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer is unable to give that figure, can he say why Sir Stafford Cripps was able to give such a figure in 1949? Does he not now admit that it would have been much fairer to have compared such a figure with the figure which he mentioned in regard to Sir Stafford Cripps' calculations?

If the hon. Member is going back to those particular discussions, I certainly had no desire to be unfair to Sir Stafford Cripps, as I have taken the opportunity of informing him personally. As regards the answer to the Question, I have as far as I could given the most correct answer to the hon. Member's Question. If there is any discrepancy or mistake, perhaps he will discuss it with me.