HC Deb 27 February 1906 vol 152 cc1008-9
MR. D. A. THOMAS (Merthyr Tydvil)

To ask the hon. Member for South Somerset, as representing the President of the Board of Agriculture, if he has any official information showing the average prices of beef and mutton respectively in the United Kingdom prior to and since the year 1896, when restrictions were placed upon the importation of live cattle into this country; and whether the Agricultural Department has prepared any index numbers by which a comparison may be made between the variations in the prices of beef and mutton and those of commodities generally, say, during the past thirty years.

(Answered by Sir Edward Strachey.) No official information is available to show the average prices of beef and mutton in the United Kingdom for the period to which the hon. Member refers, but the following table gives the average prices of cattle and sheep in the Metropolitan Moat Market for the years 1880–1892 and 1893–1905. The year 1892 has been taken, for the reason that Canadian cattle were first subjected to the requirement of slaughter at the port of landing in that year, although the requirement was not made a statutory one until 1896.

that year as a base (100), the mean index numbers for beef and mutton are 97.3 and 105.5 for the period 1880–1892, and 85.3 and 96.9 for the period 1893–1905.

The following Table gives the figures for each year from 1872 to 1895.
1872. 1873. 1874. 1875. 1876. 1877. 1878.
Beef 103.1 114.0 110.9 114.7 111.6 110.1 111.6
Mutton 105.6 113.4 97.2 116.9 118.3 116.9 115.5