asked whether the stock of foodstuffs actually held in this country is less than it was at the time when the Royal Commission on Food 1629 Supplies issued its Report; and whether the importation of foodstuffs has risen by more than 20 per cent. since the year 1899, and, if not, by how much it has risen?
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the BOARD of TRADE (Mr. J. M. Robertson)
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs has asked me to answer this question. Official statistics of stocks of foodstuffs are not at present obtained regularly, but the possibility of making arrangements for their collection is under consideration. I may point out that the estimates of the Royal Commission were only arrived at after hearing a good deal of evidence and after a somewhat lengthy investigation. Measured by values, imports of "food, drink, and tobacco" have increased in the period referred to by about 22½ per cent, but I ought to add that the Board of Trade index number of wholesale prices of food has risen in the same period toy about 11 per cent., so that the actual increase in quantity is not so great as that indicated above.