HC Deb 04 December 1950 vol 482 cc2-3
6. Mr. Sutcliffe

asked the Minister of Food if he is aware that the recent alteration in the price schedule for sweets has resulted in lower margins for retailers, many of whom are small shopkeepers; and if he can give an assurance that steps have been taken to ascertain that no hardship will result.

10. Mr. Lionel Heald

asked the Minister of Food whether he is aware that certain prices of confectionery have recently been lowered in such a way as to cause hardship to small shopkeepers; and what steps he intends to take to remedy this.

Mr. Webb

The revised price schedule was introduced after a full examination of the position of the trade, and I am satisfied that it gives a fully adequate profit overall. But I obviously cannot guarantee that every individual trader, irrespective of the circumstances, size or efficiency of his business, will make a profit.

Mr. Sutcliffe

Is the Minister aware that the National Union of Retail Confectioners asked for the withdrawal of the schedule? Will he bear in mind that the price schedule affects thousands of small shopkeepers, many of whom are widows, working on their own, and will he take into account the fact that sales are limited because of the points system and because many people do not take up their full quota?

Mr. Webb

I am aware of the complaint of the trade but, on behalf of the widows who buy the sweets, I found it proper to reject it.

Sir Richard Acland

Would not a much bigger burden have been placed on the consumer if private enterprise had been free from Socialist control in this matter?

9. Mr. Sutcliffe

asked the Minister of Food if he is aware that the quota of personal points capital available to wholesalers in the confectionery trade is based on a period 12 years ago; and if, in view of the hardship which this imposes on some wholesalers, he will investigate the matter, with a view to an alteration in the qualifying dates.

Mr. Webb

The hon. Member has been misinformed. Wholesalers' personal points credits were re-assessed in 1949.