asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection what was the total amount spent on food subsidies by her Department in 1974–75; what is her estimate of the totals for 1975–76; by how much these sums will be reduced; and by how much they will lead to a reduction in the retail price index.
The latest estimate of expenditure on food subsidies in 1974–75 is £510·4 million. It is the present intention to continue the subsidy programme broadly at its existing level in 1975–76, and, subject to parliamentary approval, expenditure in that year is expected to be about £550 million. Thereafter the proposal is that subsidies should be gradually phased out. Food subsidies are estimated to be reducing the retail price index by about 1½ points.