§ 22. Mr. W. THORNE
asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office whether the Government have at last arranged to purchase the entire output of New Zealand cheese; whether the price they are paying is 9½d. per lb. f.o.b. New Zealand; if he is aware that the National Dairy Association of New Zealand offered the entire cheese to the Government at 8¾d. per lb. at the beginning of the season, but they refused the offer; if he is aware that the difference in price they have now paid represents 7s. per cwt., or a loss of about £350,000 over and above the price that the Government could have got it for last August; if he is aware that in consequence of all the New Zealand cheese being taken off the market the Canadian cheese has gone up to 156s. and the English to 160s., the New Zealand price being about 102s.; if he is aware that the Canadian and English cheese manufacturers are getting 194 over £50 per ton more for their cheese; and if he intends taking any action in the matter?
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the BOARD of TRADE (Mr. George Roberts)
The facts are generally as stated in the question. I understand that the price asked in August, 1916, namely, 8¾d., was so much in excess of the previous year's prices that the War Office did not feel justified in accepting the offer without further negotiation. The purchase of Colonial cheese, both for the Army and for civilian consumption, is now in the hands of the Board of Trade, who are dealing with it in collaboration with the Colonial Governments concerned. The recent high prices for this cheese are mainly due to the small quantities in the market, and the Board hope that their action will bring about a substantial reduction in these prices.