HC Deb 29 July 1941 vol 373 cc1237-8
55. Mr. A. Edwards

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that the Ministry of War Transport has sanctioned an increase of 60 per cent. in the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board's town dues and dock rates as from 2nd July; and, as this is in conflict with the policy of the Government, what steps he is taking to prevent a consequent increase in the cost of many Government purchases?

Sir K. Wood

Yes, Sir. My noble Friend consulted me before agreeing to the increased charges referred to. The matter was fully examined in relation to the policy which I announced in my Budget speech, and in view of the extent to which essential goods are now imported on Government account, I am satisfied that the increased charges will not be reflected in the prices of such goods to the consumer. There is, therefore, no conflict with the policy of the Government.

Mr. Edwards

Is the Chancellor not aware that when he puts up the prices of these goods he must put up the cost of goods to the Government? Is it not impossible to stabilise prices if this method of increasing prices of all these commodities is continued?

Sir K. Wood

That is a general matter. I have confined myself to the Reply I have given, which deals with a specific case.