§ 70. Mr. MILLAR
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food the estimated amount which it will cost the nation to give effect to the Food Controller's proposals regarding the sale of potatoes below the figures fixed in the Potato Order?
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the MINISTRY of FOOD (Mr. Clynes)
The charge upon the Exchequer involved by the War Cabinet's decision to compensate growers who sell potatoes of the 1917 crop below the guaranteed price of £6 per ton is estimated not to exceed £5,000,000, and there is reason to believe that the reduced price will bring about not only an increased consumption of potatoes but a decreased consumption of cereals, in which event there will be a reduction of the bread subsidy as a set-off against the potato subsidy. Perhaps I may be allowed to take this opportunity of saying, in continuation of the statement that I made on Friday last, that the Food Controller has decided to fix the base prices under the new potato scheme as follows for the period ending 31st December, 1917:
For England and Wales, £5 per ton f.o.r. grower's station.
For Scotland, £4 10s. per ton.
For Ireland, £4 per ton.
§ Mr. FRANCE
Will the hon. Gentleman say if it will make much difference to the ratepayers whether he pays the subsidies for flour or potatoes?