HC Deb 25 July 1949 vol 467 cc1784-5
4. Mr. Skeffington-Lodge

asked the Minister of Food whether he will now take steps, in view of the recently changed market situation, to decontrol all poultry.

Mr. Strachey

I have given careful consideration to the decontrol of poultry prices, in the light of current and prospective supplies and of the general economic situation of the country, and I am not convinced that there is enough poultry for sales to be made freely within the present maximum prices. In the circumstances, I am not prepared to take the risk of decontrol, and therefore both poultry and rabbits will remain subject to price control this year.

Mr. Skeffington-Lodge

In view of the fact that the number of poultry in the country is growing month by month, can the Minister give us an indication as to when he may be able to meet the point I make in my Question?

Mr. Strachey

There is, of course, nothing to prevent the prices of poultry and rabbits from falling below the maximum price, and I very much hope that they will do so.

Mr. Turton

Is this not contrary to the advice of the Bodinnar Committee, which was set up to examine this very problem?

Mr. Strachey

That Committee and many others have come to the conclusion that we should get rid of this control at the earliest possible time, and I certainly share that view; but, for the reasons I have given, I do not think that the risk of higher prices can be faced at the present time.

Sir David Robertson

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that practically no poultry goes through Smithfield or the other great markets in this country, or ever finds its way into the shops in my constituency and in others; but that it goes into a black market which the Minister seems incapable of controlling?

Mr. Strachey

I am glad to say that Smithfield and the other big markets are now handling supplies of poultry.

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