§ 80. Mr. FLAVIN
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether the Home and Colonial Stores at Exeter have increased the price of tea within the past month from 2s. per lb. to 2s. 2d., and again to 2s. 4d. per lb.; whether he is aware that this tea has been in stock by the Home and Colonial people for a considerable time and that, in addition to the increase of 4d. in the lb. that has been put on, the consumer is also compelled to pay the price of tea for the paper wrapper which is weighed in with the tea; and what action he proposes to take to protect purchasers?
I understand that the facts are as stated in the first part of the question. I have no information as to the length of time during which this tea has been in the possession of the Home and Colonial Stores. It has, I understand, long been a practice of this and other firms to include the weight of the wrapper in that of a packet of tea, and to state this on the wrapper. As I have already informed the House, the whole question of tea prices is under consideration by the Food Controller, particularly in connection with the restriction of imports. In this particular case it appears that the rise of price preceded any announcement of the restriction.
§ Mr. FLAVIN
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the copy of the wrapper which I gave him weighs almost half an ounce, and represents a penny extra put on the consumer?
I have already asked the hon. Gentleman if he will be good enough to furnish me with any proof to show that the weight of the wrapper now exceeds that of previous months. I have reason to believe that in some cases wrappers are being increased in weight, and I should like any such cases to be brought to my notice.
§ Mr. FLAVIN
Will the hon. Gentleman inquire how much tea, this multiple combine have taken out of bond during the last month, and whether it is not also a fact that this multiple company have during the last year's trading made a clear profit of a quarter of a million out of the excess charge they have put on tea; and will he say what action the Food Controller is going to take in the matter?