HC Deb 17 February 1920 vol 125 cc714-5
75. Mr. HOLMES

asked the Food Controller whether he is aware that grave discontent exists owing to the price asked for butter since its de-control; and what facts are in his possession which satisfy him that the forthcoming supply will be sufficient to force the present price down to the former controlled price without delay?


I am aware that there is some discontent with regard to the price of home-produced butter now available. I am not in a position to estimate its gravity. A certain amount of discontent with regard to high prices is general, and perhaps unavoidable. I have no facts in my possession which would suggest that there is any likelihood of the price of butter falling to the former, controlled price. The world price of butter is steadily advancing, and I regret that the Food Controller finds it necessary to raise the maximum retail price of controlled butter to 3s. a pound.


Has the hon. Gentleman any calculations to show what is the actual cost of producing British butter?


Is it the fact that the controlled price of butter was put on without any idea of the cost of production but with the object of encouraging the sale of milk and not of butter?


Yes, the controlled price of butter has been based entirely upon the price at which it has been possible to purchase certain qualities of foreign produced butter by the consumer, while at the same time it has always been recognised that the control of butter at that price left no encouragement to the British farmer to turn his milk into butter. With regard to the cost of butter, I can only say the most careful and detailed enquiries have been made into the cost of production of milk, and unquestionably the parity price for butter as compared with the present price of milk would leave no profit on any price less than 5s. a pound.


Can the hon. Gentleman say what is the average price of butter in Holland and Denmark?


I could not say off-hand. I can merely say the controlled price is one which involves no loss to the British trader, and therefore the controlled price may be taken as indicating a price slightly in excess of the average price in foreign countries.

Forward to