HC Deb 17 July 1923 vol 166 cc2020-1

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been drawn to the excessive prices charged for tobacco by the masters of ships to members of their crews, although such tobacco is allowed out of bond duty free; whether he can state the result of the representations made on this point to shipowners and shipmasters last year; and whether it is proposed to take any action, by Regulation or otherwise, to prevent this?


Complaints were made last year that excessive prices are charged for the supply of tobacco on board ship to members of the crews, but only in one case were particulars of the alleged excessive charges given, and in that case the prices charged have been reduced. Further inquiries showed that in general seamen are able to obtain tobacco on board ship at prices considerably below the prices charged on shore. The Board of Trade have no power to regulate the prices charged for tobacco on board ship, but if the hon. Member can furnish me with particulars of any case in which excessive prices are in fact charged, I shall be pleased to go into the matter.


Does the right hon. Gentleman think it fair, when these people get the tobacco duty free, that the consumer should have no advantage but should be charged more?


I think certainly the price should be cheaper in those circumstances. If the hon. Member has any case where he thinks the price charged is excessive, I will certainly go into it, but I have no statutory power.