HC Deb 14 June 1948 vol 452 cc33-4
41. Mr. De la Bère

asked the Minister of Food why, in view of the fact that the U.S. price for cocoa beans ruling on their terminal market for May, 1947 was 170s. per cwt., he is charging the chocolate manufacturers of this country 237s. 2d. per cwt.

Dr. Summerskill

I would refer the hon. Member to my reply to his Question on 2nd June. Apart from the fact that he is comparing the New York terminal price with the price duty paid to manufacturers in this country, a single quotation in a fluctuating market cannot be taken as an index of what the Ministry should charge manufacturers over a period.

Mr. De la Bère

Is the hon. Lady aware that the real cause for the high price of chocolate today is the excessive price charged by the Government to the chocolate manufacturers. It is not just a question of an isolated instance. It is an illustration of the fact that the price is too high and it is a real scandal.

Dr. Summerskill

I am sure the hon. Gentleman together with other hon. Gentlemen opposite would not have my Ministry incur a business loss. I should like him to realise that these prices were computed last December when we had to anticipate fluctuations in the market, and that whereas in his Question he gives the lowest price of 170s. on the New York market last month, the fluctuations were between 258s. and 170s.