§ 42. Mr. A. BENNETT
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether his attention has been called to the high retail price of bread in view of the cheapness of wheat; what is the average price paid to the British farmer for wheat; and what, assuming this price, is the profit to the retailer on a sack of flour of 280 lbs., assuming that the loaf is sold, respectively, at 8d., 8½d., and 9d?
§ Sir R. SANDERS
I am aware that complaint has been made that the price of bread is high in proportion to the price of wheat, and this and similar complaints in regard to other foodstuffs are now being investigated by the Committee which I recently appointed to inquire into the methods and costs of selling and distributing agricultural, horticultural and dairy produce in Great Britain, and to consider whether, and, if so, by what means the disparity between the price received by the producer and that paid by the consumer can be diminished. According to the returns made under the Corn Returns Act, 1882, the price of British wheat now averages about 9s. 6d. per cwt. Bread is not usually made exclusively from British wheat flour. The present price of the average quality of flour for bread-making is about 39s. per 280 lbs., and about 90 4-lb. loaves can be made from this quantity of flour. The actual cost of the flour in a 4-lb. loaf is therefore at present prices about 5¼d., and the difference between this and the price at which the bread is actually sold represents the costs and profit of the middleman.