asked the Minister of Food what are the total margins of profit per lb. on tea between the import price at British docks and the price to the consumer.
In the year ended 31st March, 1952, the average gross margin between the import price as reduced by subsidy and the retail price was about one shilling. This margin has to provide for the working costs of the blenders, packers and wholesale and retail distributors.
Has the right hon. and gallant Gentleman considered the company reports of some of the leading tea importers, blenders and distributors? If so, does he agree that in many cases the profits which are being realised are unreasonable and in some cases fantastic, and is he satisfied that the present price of tea can be justified?
The hon. Member asked me what the profit per lb. was. I should say that the figure which I have given is a perfectly reasonable one when one considers that four different processes have to be covered by the shilling.