HC Deb 04 December 1946 vol 431 cc335-6
59. Mr. Derek Walker-Smith

asked the Minister of Food what representations he has had that the margin of gross profit at present allowed to retail butchers is insufficient to cover the increased cost of serving the meat to the public; and what action he proposes to take.

Dr. Summerskill

The National Federation of Meat Traders Associations have made representations to the effect that the profit margin for general butchers is too low. These were based on figures of butchers' returns, which are difficult to reconcile with figures obtained by the Ministry. The federation has, therefore, been asked to agree to their accountants consulting with the Ministry's accountants. It is hoped that the result of this consultation will enable us to reach a decision which will be fair and reasonable both to the trade and the community.

Major Legge-Bourke

In view of the unsatisfactory quality of some of the meat coming from the Argentine, will the hon. Lady consider an increase in the cutting out allowance?

Dr. Summerskill

That is another question.

Mr. Walkden

Is my hon. Friend aware that there is another point of view on this issue; and does she recognise that the butchers of Britain have, in the main, never made so much money as they have in the last five years in selling so little in so short a time, and that many butchers do not want control removed for a very long time?