§ 51. Mr. W. THORNE
asked the Prime Minister if he is aware that the meat prices in London have jumped up in consequence of the dock workers' dispute; if he can state whether the cost of handling meat is now more than it was prior to the dispute; and if he can give any reasons why the prices of meat have been increased?
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the MINISTRY of LABOUR (Mr. Betterton)
I have been asked to reply. I assume the hon. Member refers to retail prices. The returns of retail prices of meat are only collected at the beginning of each month, and the results are issued about the 16th of the month. I have at present no statistics later than 1st July last, which is prior to the commencement of the dock workers' dispute. Probably 30 the cost of handling meat has risen somewhat, but I cannot tell what effect this may have on the retail prices of meat till the figures come in next month.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the butchers are making increased charges for meat and giving the strike as an excuse?
§ Mr. BETTERTON
As I have stated, the only information which I have with regard to figures is contained in the returns issued about the 16th of every month. I have no further information.
§ Mr. THORNE
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the retail dealers are advancing prices according to the opportunities afforded by the law of supply and demand?
§ Mr. BETTERTON
It is impossible to compile these figures at shorter intervals than a month. They cannot be compiled daily or weekly. It would be impossible, having regard to the enormous amount of labour involved, to do it at shorter intervals than a month.