HC Deb 02 May 1951 vol 487 cc1183-4
58. Mr. Ivor Owen Thomas

asked the Minister of Food how the prices for meat under the new Argentine agreement compare with prices for meat offered to us by private traders in other countries.

Mr. F. Willey

We have received in recent months a number of offers from European sources of frozen beef mainly of South American origin. These have been at prices varying from £130 per ton delivered German frontier to £197.29 per ton ex store Hamburg. The prices we have now agreed with Argentina for meat of similar quality are less than the lowest of these offers, after taking into account the cost of bringing the meat to this country.

Mr. Thomas

Can my hon. Friend give us information to enable a comparison to be made between the prices for meat supplied by the Argentine to other counties and the prices we have to pay under the present agreement?

Mr. Willey

We have a little information about prices paid to the Argentine by other countries. We know, for example, that Germany paid £140 per ton for 2,400 tons of frozen beef. The highest price which we pay for similar beef being £132 per ton.

Mr. Turton

As the average price at present is £125 per ton, why did not the Minister accept, last January, the average price of £120 per ton, which is far less than these other prices?

Mr. Pickthorn

Can the Minister tell the House whether the price paid by Germany, to which he referred in terms of pounds, was actually paid in sterling, or whether the number of pounds he gave to the House is the result of a calculation?

Mr. Willey

The price I have given to the House is the result of a calculation.

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