HC Deb 14 April 1920 vol 127 cc1669-71
40. Lieut.-Colonel BUCKLEY

asked the Food Controller whether, when bacon was re-controlled on the 9th August, 1919, the amount of bacon then requisitioned by the Ministry, bacon here and to arrive, was about 100,000 tons, at an average cost to the Ministry of about £180 per ton; whether several thousand tons of the Ministry's requisitioned bacon and hams have been sold by the authority of the Ministry for boiling down and other purposes at varying prices from £8 to £25 per ton; several thousand tons sold to the Continent at varying prices from £80 to £140 per ton; and whether allowances have had to be made on many thousands of tons of bacon and hams of anything varying from £5 to £50 per ton to get these goods into circulation in this country?


I would refer the hon. Member to the answer given on this subject to the hon. Member for Plaistow on 22nd March.

41. Lieut.-Colonel BUCKLEY

asked whether at least 50 per cent. of the bacon and hams requisitioned by the Government on the 9th August last were consigned to this market at the packer's risk; and, if so, would the loss which the Ministry of Food have sustained on these goods have been the liability of the packers and not, as is now stated, the liability of the Ministry of Food.


The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. Negotiations as to the price to be paid for the requisitioned bacon are proceeding on the basis that the packer should bear such losses as would have been borne by him had the goods not been requisitioned.

42. Lieut.-Colonel BUCKLEY

asked whether on the 9th August, when the Ministry brought their requisitioning order in, the cost of hogs in Chicago was round about 23 cents per lb., and has since then been down to round about 13 cents per lb., and notwithstanding this reduction in the price of hogs the Ministry of Food have not seen fit to reduce the price of American bacon, hams, and lard.


On 9th August, when control of bacon was resumed, the cost of hogs in Chicago was approximately 23 cents per lb. It fell as low as 13 cents for a short period when the Ministry of Food withheld buying orders, and was last week about 16½ cents per lb. Since the date of re-control the fall in exchange has varied from 9 per cent. to 25 per cent. Other costs borne by the Ministry, such as railway carriage to the retailer in this country, have also increased; and at the present time the principal cuts of bacon are being sold at or below the cost of replacement. In the circumstances it has not been possible to effect a general reduction in the price of bacon.


Is the hon. Gentleman aware that since bacon has been decontrolled the price has jumped up by about 50 per cent.?


I daresay that is true; but that rise is not commensurate with some other things that have jumped up—wages, for instance.


Would it not be better to control it again?