HC Deb 09 February 1944 vol 396 c1774
57. Major Lyons

asked the Minister of Food if he has now considered the representations and proposals of the North Midland Regional Price Regulation Committee in connection with the distribution and sale of spirits; and what steps he now proposes to take for the protection of the public.

Colonel Llewellin

The reply to the first part of the Question is "Yes, Sir." In reply to the last part, I do not consider that I would be justified, in undertaking the control of the distribution and sale of wines and spirits.

Major Lyons

Does not the Minister know that for some years this racket has gone on against the public and that his Department has done nothing, on the pretence that they have never heard of it? Will he take steps to stop this underground racket, which operates to the detriment of the genuine buyer?

Colonel Llewellin

It would mean setting up another large control, taking on a largely increased staff in the Ministry, and issuing a large number of forms to control the distribution of things that are not necessities.

Major Lyons

Arising out of that could not the whole position be effectively simplified by a maximum price that has the force of law and not merely a price fixed internally by the distillers, which is obeyed by so few people?

Mr. E. Walkden

Has the Minister not already a price control for wine supplied with meals, and does not that work?

Colonel Llewellin

There is such an order applying to whisky, gin and beer, at any rate, sold with a meal——

Mr. Walkden

Not whisky but wine. I ask the Minister to look into his own Order.

Colonel Llewellin

May I finish—and an arrangement applying to the Algerian wines, imported by the Ministry.

Viscountess Astor

Who wants the prices reduced?

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