HC Deb 25 July 1949 vol 467 cc1787-8
6. Mr. William Shepherd

asked the Minister of Food what is the percentage of maximum control price realised by the sale of white fish landed at British ports in the month of June.

Mr. Strachey

The information for which the hon. Member asks will take some time to prepare, and I will write to him as soon as possible.

7. Mr. Shepherd

asked the Minister of Food if he has considered the practicability of relating the retail price of white fish to the first price to stimulate demand when landings are excessive; and what steps he proposes to take.

Mr. Strachey

If the fall in prices at the ports were general and sustained we could adjust the maximum retail prices; but my Department has never been able to find a practicable way of ensuring that occasional local reductions in prices are passed on to the consumer.

Mr. Shepherd

If it is not practicable to relate the landing price to the selling price, why is it that the fishermen have to stand the loss through the landing price dropping so low? Cannot they have a standard minimum to ensure that they get a good catch?

Air-Commodore Harvey

Is the Minister aware that during the last six weeks thousands of tons of fresh fish have been sold as manure and yet the prices in the shops have remained the same? Why should the fishermen receive such a poor return when the middleman is getting all the profits?

Mr. Strachey

I am far from suggesting that the distribution of fish is perfect, but there is a price maximum fixed by the Ministry and there is nothing to prevent prices to the householder from dropping below that maximum.

Mr. Shepherd

If the prices cannot be lowered, why cannot the existing minimum to the fishermen be increased instead of allowing the middleman to earn so much money?

Mr. Strachey

I could not agree that the margin between the two is excessive today.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Is not the middleman's profit part of the Conservative policy?

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