HC Deb 09 June 1931 vol 253 c790
25. Mr. W. J. BROWN

asked the President of the Board of Trade what has been the percentage drop in the cost of oils and fats during the last two years; and what has been the corresponding percentage drop in retail soap prices?


The average declared import value (c.i.f.) of oils and fats, other than mineral and for food, imported into the United Kingdom during the first four months of 1929 was about £36 per ton and during the first four months of 1931 £23 10s. per ton, a fall of about 1⅛d. per lb. or 35 per cent. The average retail price of household soap in great Britain, as calculated from returns supplied to the Ministry of Labour for the purpose of the Cost of Living Statistics, was approximately 6½d. per lb. in the first four months of 1929, and 6d. per lb. in the first four months of 1931, a fall of about 8 per cent.


In view of the extraordinary disparity between the size of the drop in the wholesale price of oils and fats, and the size of the drop in retail prices of soap, can the Government hold out any expectation of legislation with a view to dealing with this gap?


That, of course, is precisely one of the objects covered by the Consumers' Council Bill.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say how he got the figure, because my information is that it is £8 a ton.