25 and 26. Colonel NEWMAN
asked the Prime Minister (1) whether he is yet in a position to make any statement with regard to the continuing, the diminishing, or the abolishing of the bread subsidy;
884 (2) whether he can give the House the decision arrived at by the Government with regard to the bread subsidy?
§ The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Lloyd George)
Yes, Sir. The Government has decided that although it is inadvisable to abolish the bread subsidy at present, it is imperative that a substantial reduction should be effected in the Estimate for the coming financial year. Accordingly, the wholesale price of all flour will be advanced by 19s. 3d. per sack of 280 lbs. on Monday next, 15th instant. It has also been decided that the average rate of extraction required to be obtained from the wheat ground shall be raised from 77 per cent. to 80 per cent. In order to ensure that the benefit of the increased value of existing stocks in the hands of traders shall pass either to the consumer or to the taxpayer, no advance in retail prices of flour and bread will be permitted until Monday, 12th April, and arrangements have accordingly been made to check stocks in the hands of traders at the close of business on Saturday next, 13th instant. It is estimated that the reduction in the bread subsidy for the coming financial year as a result of the decision indicated above, will amount to approximately 45 millions. If no change were made the cost to the Exchequer on present estimates would be approximately 90 millions.
§ Mr. LAMBERT
Can the right hon. Gentleman say what will be the price of the loaf on the 12th April?
§ The PRIME MINISTER
I am not quite sure. I believe it now fluctuates in different districts. Therefore I do not want to give any indication.