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Commodity Marketing

Volume 933: debated on Monday 20 June 1977

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22.

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection what plans he has to control the forward marketing in commodities.

None, Sir. I remain quite satisfied that the existing surveillance arrangements are adequate.

Is my hon. Friend aware of the great increases in the prices of tea and coffee? How far are these the result of genuinely increased costs—[HON. MEMBERS: "The Common Market."] Even I would leave out the Common Market—and how much is due to speculation?

Yes, I am aware of the concern about tea price increases. There is a Question on the Order Paper about this matter, which is being considered by the Price Commission. The ingredients or the causes of the increase will be and are being carefully analysed by the Price Commission. When it publishes its report, my hon. Friend will be able to read it.

Has the Minister made any estimate of the likely cost of the common fund on the basic costs of a number of commodities in this country? If the Department has not yet made such an estimate, will it do so over the coming months while the common fund is under detailed discussion?

A curious practice seems to be developing of asking ques- tions about almost anything under the sun whether or not it relates to the Question on the Order Paper, which on this occasion concerns forward marketing in commodities. That is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade.