HC Deb 03 May 1950 vol 474 cc1694-5
61. Mrs. Jean Mann

asked the Minister of Food by how much per lb. butcher meat is subsidised; what is the total cost of the subsidy; and how does he ensure that the housewife receives the full value of the subsidy in her purchase of butcher meat.

Mr. Webb

The subsidy on carcase meat is about 21d. a lb. on the average. The total subsidy for the present financial year is estimated at £36 million. We secure the transfer of the subsidy to the consumer by controlling the prices at which the butcher both buys and sells his meat. Butchers are required to display lists of permitted prices openly in their shops, and I should be glad to investigate any evidence which the hon. Lady might give me of cases where this is not done.

Mrs. Mann

The control of prices is unknown to the housewives—they have no means of checking whether they are getting the subsidy or not. Would my right hon. Friend secure the return of the price tickets to the counters of the butchers' shops, because at present housewives are not getting the subsidy?

Mr. Webb

I have already asked my hon. Friend to come to my Department and discuss the details of her Question with my officers, and I should be very glad if she would accept that invitation.

Sir Waldron Smithers

Is the Minister aware that last Sunday the hon. Member for Orpington had a piece of meat which he could not eat because it was so tough, and that the butcher said he was sorry; and is the right hon. Gentleman also aware that in the old days, if a person did not get satisfactory meat from one butcher, he could change his butcher, whereas now we have to have what is sent us?

Mr. Webb

I am very sorry; I hope that the meat which the hon. Member had was not " red " meat.

Mr. Hastings

What precautions are taken to see that butchers exhibit price lists in their shops, because many people have never seen them?