HC Deb 09 July 1952 vol 503 cc1300-1
23. Mr. Deedes

asked the Minister of Food what level of food subsidies would be needed now to keep the cost of food where it was in April, 1949, when the subsidy ceiling was fixed at £410 million.

Major Lloyd George

If the prices of the main subsidised foods were reduced to the levels ruling at 1st April, 1949, I estimate that food subsidies of something over £800 million a year would be required. I cannot make a more precise estimate owing to changes in ration levels and in the range of subsidised food.

Mr. Deedes

Do I understand that the price of food passed on to the consumer between that date and the end of last year is something in the region of £400 million, which is considerably in excess of the reduction for which this Government is held responsible?

Major Lloyd George

The actual figure is nearer £475 million.

Mr. T. Williams

Can the right hon. and gallant Gentleman tell the House what was the extent of the increase in prices for imported food between the two dates referred to in the question?

Major Lloyd George

I have not that figure separately. There is a definite proportion which I have not in my mind at the moment, and that is the nearest answer that I can give to the question.

Mrs. Mann

Can the right hon. and gallant Gentleman say when the free private enterprise traders are to be sent out to bring us in some cheaper food?

Major Lloyd George

As soon as we can get more stability.

24. Mr. F. Willey

asked the Minister of Food the total amount of the food subsidies for the financial year 1951–52.

Major Lloyd George

About £415 million on the latest estimates.