§ 32. Mr. LAMBERT
asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs if he is aware that the wholesale and retail prices of butter in Australia are 99s. 4d. per cwt., and 1s. 4d. per 1b., respectively, while the same quality butter is sold in London at 71s. per cwt., and 8d. to 9d. per 1b.; whether such a situation was contemplated by the Ottawa Agreements; whether the Australian Government has been informed that such subsidised exports have to be met by British subsidies to home-produced milk products; and, if so, what has been the reply?
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for DOMINION AFFAIRS (Mr. Malcolm MacDonald)
During the period from approximately 29th January to 17th February—the latest period for which information is available—the wholesale price of what is known as "Kangaroo" butter was 98s. per cwt. (Australian currency) in Melbourne and the retail price there was approximately 1s. per 1b. I understand that the present wholesale price of the same quality of butter in London ranges from 68s. to 69s. per cwt. and that while the retail price varies in different districts it averages approximately 10d. per 1b. The variation between the prices in London and in Australia, therefore, is not as great as the figures given by the right hon. Member would suggest, even allowing for the cost of shipment, etc., and when allowance is also made for the difference between the value of Australian currency and of sterling. Price differentiation already existed at the time of the Ottawa Conference, and is not inconsistent with the Ottawa Agreement. The reply to the last part of the question is in the negative.
§ Mr. LAMBERT
Is it not somewhat ridiculous that the British taxpayer should be called upon to subsidise milk production in this country in order to meet subsidised milk products from Australia?