HC Deb 17 October 1916 vol 86 c367
60. Mr. O'GRADY

asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been called to the threat of the Incorporated Society of Principal Wholesale and Retail Bakers of London that on Monday, 16th October, the price of the 4-lb. loaf will be increased from 9½ d. to 10d.; and whether the Government will take steps to prevent this exploitation of the people, including the wives and children of sailors and soldiers engaged in the service of their country?

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

The Prime Minister has asked me to reply to this question. As soon as the proposed increase in the price of bread was announced officers of the Board of Trade communicated with the bakers and made inquiries with a view to ascertaining whether the increase, which refers to London alone, could be justified. The figures so far examined appeared to indicate that on the existing price of flour the price of 9½ d. per 4-lb. loaf would leave an insufficient margin to cover the increased expenses of the baker in respect of labour, fuel and other working costs. The question of the price of flour is now under discussion between the Board of Trade and the millers. As my hon. Friend is aware, a Royal Commission to deal with wheat has recently been appointed, and I hope that as a result of its operations abundant supplies will be secured for consumption in the United Kingdom.