HC Deb 18 February 1953 vol 511 cc1216-7
10. Mr. Chapman

asked the Minister of Food whether he can now announce agreement on a scheme to ensure display of price tags on meat in the shops.

Major Lloyd George

I am glad to say a recent survey shows that butchers generally are responding to the proposal that they should use price tickets. The response is particularly good in the South. In Scotland I regret that so far it is poor. I am watching the position closely and I shall make a further review after a few weeks.

Mr. Chapman

If there is not a real response to a voluntary scheme, will the Minister have a compulsory scheme? Is he not aware that he promised a decision within two weeks as long ago as last December, and that we have been waiting for it ever since?

Major Lloyd George

The reason the hon. Gentleman has been waiting for it ever since is because a survey has been made of various butchers to see how far the voluntary appeal was successful. I am glad to say that, apart from certain areas, the results have been satisfactory, and I am hoping that as a result of certain areas being good others will follow their example.

Sir T. Moore

In Scotland is not the reason, about which my right hon. and gallant Friend complains, that the purchaser in Scotland trusts the retailer.

Mr. Hamilton

Exactly what does the Minister mean by a "good response" and a "poor response" in terms of figures?

Major Lloyd George

There was a good response in London, with about 200 out of 300 butchers visited. A poor response would, I regret to say, be Scotland with about 130 out of 1,600 visited.

19. Mrs. Mann

asked the Minister of Food whether he will make it compulsory for housewives whose butchers fail to place price lists in places of easy access and within reading distance, to be supplied with price lists on application and instructions on how to distinguish between first and second qualities.

Major Lloyd George

I do not think this would be practicable.

Mrs. Mann

Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that his predecessor, his Parliamentary Secretary and, I think, he himself pleaded for three or four years for these tickets on meat, and as there is widespread feeling among housewives that they are being exploited by the butchers, will he take some steps such as withdrawing the ration from butchers who refuse to put tickets on the meat?

Major Lloyd George

At the moment the only compulsion on the butcher, as the hon. Lady knows, is to put the price list in a conspicuous place where it can be seen by the shoppers. As I have said, in answer to previous Questions, I hope that the practice of putting tickets on meat will extend.

Mrs. Mann

Is the Minister aware that the price list is very difficult to interpret? It can be interpreted by the butchers but not by the housewives, and the question of whether they are getting first, second or third quality is still anyone's guess.

Major Lloyd George

I sympathise very much with them, but I do not think that this problem is entirely confined to these particular people. I am not at all sure that before the war a good many people could not tell.

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