§ 72. Mr. W. THORNE
asked the hon. Member for Wilton whether he is aware that the selling price of tea has been advanced 1d. per lb., and in consequence of all grocers refusing to sell sugar without tea it is equivalent to evading the selling price of sugar fixed by the Sugar Commissioners; and if he intends taking any action in the matter?
The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the MINISTRY of FOOD CONTROL (Captain Bathurst)
The Food Controller is aware that the selling price of tea has in a number of cases been advanced 1d. per 1b. This increase is, no doubt, connected with the increase of wholesale prices, which, as I recently informed the House, is now the subject of investigation. The Food Controller does not consider that the sale of sugar should be made conditional on the purchase of any particular article, and if the hon. Member will give me details of any case in which such a condition is being imposed, it will at once be inquired into.
§ Mr. THORNE
Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman not aware that it is quite im- 782 possible at any grocers in this country to get sugar without tea? It is a common practice all over the country.
I am certainly not aware that this practice is as extensive as the hon. Member suggests. If he will bring actual, verifiable instances to my notice they shall be inquired into.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
If the hon. and gallant Gentleman will try to buy a pound of sugar himself he will find that he has to buy something else.
§ Mr. PRINGLE
Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that there are many shops in London where it has not been possible to obtain sugar at all during the last fortnight, and that in consequence people have been driven to buying unnecessary provisions in other establishments, thus causing waste?
I am fully aware that such a condition of purchase unfortunately exists in the case of many establishments. It is very regrettable, but it is very difficult to see how it is going to be remedied in every case without a system of compulsory rationing.
§ Mr. THORNE
Can the hon. and gallant Gentleman give us any reasons for the jump in the price of tea, when there has been no taxation put on?
§ Mr. ANDERSON
Seeing that the Food Controller has stated that round about ¾ lb. of sugar is what people are entitled to, why does he not take steps to see that everyone gets his fair share, and no more?
Mr. MacCALLUM SCOTT
Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that in order to get sugar some people are buying large quantities of tinned fruits and tinned meats, and, having got the sugar, are selling the fruits and meat by auction?
§ Mr. FLAVIN
Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that the practice generally prevails that a certain amount of sugar is sold with goods other than tea, which makes sugar scarce in the market, and therefore people who have to get sugar with tea cannot get it?