HC Deb 28 May 1941 vol 371 cc1860-1
70. Mr. Cocks

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether his attention has been called to the excessive price of spring onions; whether he is aware of the opinion amongst retailers that there is no need for these high prices and that they are not due to weather conditions but to profiteering; and whether he will take steps to control the prices of this vegetable?

Major Lloyd George

In reply to the first part of my hon. Friend's Question, I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to the Member for Romford (Mr. Parker) on 14th May. The reply to the second part is in the negative.

Mr. Cocks

Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that although there have been many seasons as dry as this, spring onions which used to cost not more than 2s. a bunch now cost 5s. a bunch, and that in the opinion of greengrocers, both in the provinces and in London, this is due to profiteering? Could he not say what prices are to be charged?

Major Lloyd George

I could not. With regard to the dryness of the season, there is an additional disadvantage this year, and that is the cold. My Noble Friend does not think it is to the public advantage to control prices for what are, in fact, out-of-season products. Most of these products will come down very quickly in price when the ordinary seasonal production takes place. At the present time it would be quite impossible to control prices.

Mr. Evelyn Walkden

Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that some people arc making huge fortunes out of these commodities in Spitafields Market?

Major Lloyd George

Obviously there is not enough trade in these particular things to make huge fortunes for anybody.