HC Deb 09 February 1915 vol 69 cc390-1
18. Mr. HOGGE

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the Royal Commission on the Sugar Supply has bought Dutch sugar since the importation of sugar into the United Kingdom was totally prohibited as an economic blow against the enemy; whether the Commission was assured that such purchases, if any, would not be replaced by sugar from Germany or Austria; and whether, if such assurance were given, there is any objection to similar importations under licence by merchants and manufacturers?


The answer to the first and second parts of the question is in the affirmative. The purchases were of a class of sugar which our own refineries cannot fully supply and were small, consequently it is possible to make certain that the assurances given will be kept in a way which would not be possible if purchases were general and to large amounts.


asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that manufacturers are now in a position to place forward contracts for sugar to be delivered during the first half of August at prices at least £7 a ton less than those charged by the Royal Commission on the Sugar Supply; and if he can state whether the Commission has yet arrived at any decision with regard to such contracts, or is taking steps to safeguard the interests of consumers when the present stocks bought by the Government are exhausted?


My hon. Friend's statement as to prices is not confirmed by the latest reports I have seen. Sugar bought in New York even at present prices could not be sold here cheaper than it is now sold by the Royal Commission, and any purchases by this country in New York would send the prices up much higher. The Commission considers that it would be premature as yet to attempt to decide what the position in the latter part of the year may demand. I can only say that, so soon as a decision can be reached, ample notice will be given to the trade of any change in existing conditions.