HC Deb 27 August 1914 vol 66 cc129-30
20. Mr. TOUCHE

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been called to complaints by retail grocers of the hardship inflicted on them by the alleged practice of owners of multiple shops in selling sugar under cost; and whether, in fixing maximum prices for this article of food and framing regulations to prevent high costs to the public, steps have been taken, or are in contemplation, to protect the interests of the classes of the trading community which are being seriously prejudiced by the absence of uniformity in retail prices?

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of TRADE (Mr. Runciman)

Such complaints as have reached me as to the sale of sugar at retail prices lower than the current wholesale prices have not been confined to the case of multiple shops. The practice of selling sugar at or below cost is not a novel one, and is not confined to any class of traders. The Advisory Committee, which has recommended to the Board of Trade certain prices as reasonable maximum prices, gives very careful consideration to the position of retail traders as well as to the interests of the consuming public. The Federation of Grocers' Associations is represented on the Committee.

30. Mr. BARNES

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether the Board is prepared to make an order upon, or if the Government will otherwise deal with, refiners and brokers who, during the week succeeding the declaration of war, raised prices against the retail buyers of sugar abnormally so that many retailers throughout Scotland are saddled with sugar for which they require to pay from 51s. to 45s. per hundredweight for sugar which is now being retailed at 3½d and 3¾d. per pound to the consumer under the order of the Government which regulates retail prices?


I will see that this matter is considered.