25. Mr. GLAMBERT
asked whether, having regard to the very high price of wheat, action may be taken to reduce the price of that product, thereby cheapening the price of bread?
The price of imported wheat is regulated by the Royal Commission on the Wheat Supply; the comparatively small supplies of homegrown wheat are not under their control. Imported wheat is put upon the market at a price which approximately represents what it costs to buy and bring to this country. The question of regulating the price of home-grown wheat is one on which the Food Controller will confer with the President of the Board of Agriculture.
Is it possible for the Government to utilise its practical control of the wheat market to lower prices?
Yes, Sir; and I have every reason to believe that they are exercising that control. I may add that a Committee has been appointed representing the Wheat Commission, the millers and the bakers in order to keep a watchful eye upon this matter.
The Food Controller has undoubtedly the ultimate control, but the matter is primarily in the hands of the Wheat Commission.
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that while these matters are under the consideration of the Government the people are being bled white?
I hope that such observations will not be made in this House unless there is good cause for doing so. They are only calculated to cause unfounded panic, and thus interfere with the successful prosecution of the War.
§ Mr. OUTHWAITE
At what price is wheat which is selling in Australia for 45s. a quarter sold when brought to this country?
I have already answered that in the answer to the first part of this question. I do not think that the hon. Gentleman takes fully into account the cost of the freight to this country.
There is a very high freight involved from so distant a part of the globe as Australia?
§ Mr. OUTHWAITE
The hon. Gentleman has not answered my specific question as to the price at which Australian wheat is being sold here?