HC Deb 26 November 1952 vol 508 cc442-3
20. Mr. Osborne

asked the Minister of Food the cost, per lb, of producing butter in this country; and what are the distribution costs.

Major Lloyd George

The practice of my Department, like that of the Milk Marketing Board before the war, is to charge milk used for butter making at a price which will equate the cost of home-produced and imported butter. On this basis the estimated cost of home-produced butter in the current financial year is 3s. 0¾d. per lb. If the milk were charged at its average cost in the butter-making season, the cost of the butter would be about 6s. 10d. per lb. The cost of distribution is 5¼d. per lb.

Mr. Osborne

Does not the Minister think that since this food is sold at 2s. 6d. to the public more steps should be taken to make them aware of the true cost of food, since they will have to be told one day?

33. Mr. Willey

asked the Minister of Food the amount of butter consumed per ration book for the period 31st October, 1951, to 31st October, 1952, and the corresponding period 31st October, 1950, to 31st October, 1951, respectively.

Major Lloyd George

About 9 lb. and 12½ lb., respectively.

Mr. Willey

Will the right hon. and gallant Gentleman tell the House what factors have caused this substantial fall in the butter ration and what are the prospects for the next 12 months?

Major Lloyd George

The imports from Denmark fell—as the hon. Gentleman knows—through disease, and imports from Australia fell very considerably indeed owing to circumstances beyond the Government's control and of which the hon. Gentleman knows—a severe drought; but the prospects are better this year.

Mr. G. Jeger

Will the Minister tell us what has happened to the Conservative theory that if only buyers were allowed to go out into the world and buy there would be plenty of food supplies available?

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