§ 52. Mr. ANDERSON
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether his Department has considered the effect on prices and distribution of shortage or restricted imports in the case of such commodities as tea, coffee, cocoa, and potatoes; whether his Department has devised any plan for securing equitable distribution among all sections at prices which will be fair in all the circumstances; and if he is now in a position to make a statement on this matter?
The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the MINISTRY of FOOD CONTROL (Captain Bathurst)
The answer to the first part of this question is in the affirmative. As regards tea, coffee and cocoa, the Food Controller is consulting with the leading representatives of these trades with a view to securing distribution at fair prices. As regards potatoes, my hon. Friend is aware that the prices have been fixed to the consumer, which are much 898 below the level to which they would have risen but for the Food Controller's intervention.
§ Mr. FLAVIN
How is the Food Controller going to regulate the prices of tea when large tea merchants go into the market and raise the price by manipulation?
I have reason to think that that is a somewhat exaggerated statement. The whole question is being inquired into.
§ Mr. FLAVIN
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that within the last four weeks tea has been artificially raised in the Mincing Lane market by over 5d. per lb.?