HC Deb 24 April 1940 vol 360 c213
70. Mr. R. Gibson

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he has investigated the circumstances in which the price of eggs was sharply put up by sellers following on the announcement of the invasion of Denmark; what modification of the price-fixing machinery he has found to be required; and whether he has any statement to make regarding the rationing of eggs to secure their distribution at a reasonable price to children and invalids?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

The recent increase in the price of home-produced eggs is due to the increased demand as a result of Danish supplies being cut off. The prices of home-produced eggs are at present uncontrolled, but the Ministry of Food announced on 22nd April that, having regard to the present supply of home-produced eggs, there is no reason why retail prices should exceed the present level of 2s. 3d. for eggs of standard grade, and that if it should be found necessary, the control of prices of home-produced eggs would be reintroduced. The prices of imported eggs are controlled by a Maximum Prices Order. In reply to the last part of the Question, the rationing of eggs is not at present contemplated.

Mr. Gibson

Has there been any increase in the cost of production of home-produced eggs since Denmark was invaded by Germany?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

The price was fixed after consultation with the Ministry of Agriculture.

Mr. T. Williams

Instead of having control, then de-control, and then re-control, of prices, would it not be far better to control them all the time at reasonable prices?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

As the hon. Member knows, if maximum prices for eggs were fixed, they would tend to become the minimum prices, and that we want to avoid.