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Food Prices

Volume 530: debated on Wednesday 21 July 1954

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asked the Minister of Food the price of the various cuts of beef, lamb and pork on 1st October, 1951, and on the first of each month since that date, until the latest convenient date.

With permission, I will circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT a list of the Statutory Instruments from which this information may be obtained. Under control, some 230 separate maximum retail prices were prescribed for cuts of beef, mutton, lamb, and pork, and a list of monthly prices for all of these would be too long for the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Is not the Minister giving that advice because he does not want to reveal the facts, which are all well known, that the prices of these cuts have all gone up since this Government have been in power, directly contrary to the policy the Government announced at the General Election? That is the reason why the old-age pensioners are asking for increased pensions today.

As the hon. Gentleman says he knows the answers, he confirms me in the wisdom of my own.

Following is the list:

  • 1951 Nos. 1313 and 1314.
  • 1952 Nos. 1122 and 1123.
  • 1953 Nos. 1095, 1096; 1409, 1410.
  • 1954 Nos. 631 and 632.

52 and 53.

asked the Minister of Food (1) what representations he has had from the Scottish Housewives League and from English housewives associations asking for the reimposition of price control on butcher meat, butter and tea; and what reply he has sent;

(2) what representations he has had from the Housewives League and associations asking for the reimposition of price control on bacon, eggs, Belfast smoked ham and gammon; and what reply he has sent.

None from the Scottish Housewives League; one recently from the Dundee Women's Labour Party about meat; and two, in 1953, from women's associations referring to the price of eggs. The reply to the first letter referred to the answers my hon. Friend gave to Questions by the hon. and gallant Member for Brixton (Lieut.-Colonel Lipton), the right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) and the hon. Member for Dartford (Mr. Dodds) on 12th July; the reply to the second pointed out that the price of eggs was falling; and the reply to the third referred to the Government's general policy on food subsidies and removal of controls.

With permission, Mr. Speaker, may I take twice the time in asking my supplementary? May I inform the right hon. and gallant Gentleman—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."] May I ask the right hon. and gallant Gentleman—[HON. MEMBERS: "Yes."] This noise and laughter amongst hon. Gentlemen opposite indicates vacant minds. May I ask the right hon. and gallant Gentleman if he is aware that I knew perfectly well that he had had no representations from the Housewives' League—[HON. MEMBERS: "Why ask, then?"]—which stands exposed for what it is? Is he aware that the prices of the items I have mentioned have increased by 50 per cent.? Is not that altogether contrary to his own prognostications? Does he not think, therefore, that they should be controlled again?

As far as I can follow the hon. Lady, I gather that she said that the prices of some of the commodities referred to have gone up by 50 per cent. That is not true of meat. It certainly is not true of eggs, because they are at lower prices than when they were under control. It certainly is not true of some classes of bacon. I do not understand what the hon. Lady is saying.