HC Deb 24 October 1935 vol 305 cc321-2
82. Mr. DOBBIE

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that the wholesale price of Empire butter has risen from 8.13d. per pound in May to 13.6d. per pound in October, that Danish butter has risen from 9.6d. to 14.3d. per pound, bacon from 9.4d. per pound to 10.2d. per pound, New Zealand cheese from 4.7d. per pound to 6.5d. per pound, and Dutch cheese from 3.2d. per pound to 6.7d. per pound during the same period; whether he can explain the reason for these increases in prices in the essential foods of the working classes; and what steps he proposes to take to bring about a reduction in prices?


I am aware that there have been increases in the wholesale prices of butter and cheese of the order indicated by the hon. Member. The price of bacon has fluctuated in recent months, but on the average has not been higher in October than it was in May. The in- crease in the wholesale prices of butter and cheese is mainly attributable to reduced production abroad, accompanied by some increase of Continental purchases.


Will the right hon. Gentleman be good enough to answer the last part of the question?


Is it not the fact that the rise in the price of butter and cheese is due to the fact that there is a general world shortage of all vegetable and animal oils and fats?

Vice-Admiral TAYLOR

Is it not a fact that the price of New Zealand butter gives only a fair economic return to the New Zealand farmer?


That is no doubt true. As to the prices of these commodities, they are a good deal less than they were five years ago.


Is it not a fact that prices started to rise after the passing of the Trade Union Congress resolution at Margate?


May I have a reply to the last part of my question?


We do not think it is necessary to take any steps. The markets will look after themselves.


Has the right hon. Gentleman made any estimate as to what this rise means in the shape of an indirect reduction of wages?