HC Deb 16 March 1953 vol 512 cc1810-1
19. Mr. Willey

asked the Minister of Food whether, in view of the proposed increase in the retail prices of tea, especially the cheaper brands, he will reintroduce price control.

Major Lloyd George

No, Sir.

Mr. Willey

What did the right hon. and gallant Gentleman mean when he was talking on the radio about the reduced price of tea and all that nonsense, when, immediately after de-control, the price went up?

Mr. Lewis

Are we to take it from the fact that the Minister gave no details that the price of tea has gone up since decontrol, and is not that contradictory to the statements of the Minister and his hon. Friends on the wireless on various occasions?

Major Lloyd George

During the last six months, some of the cheaper-priced teas have gone down to 2s. I have only given the general average, which is 3s. 4d. as opposed to 3s. 3.6d. last year. I do not call that very high.

Mr. Nabarro

Is my right hon. and gallant Friend aware that the general public are very well satisfied with all the arrangements he has made for de-rationing tea and sweets, and urge upon him the need for the de-rationing of the remainder of rationed foodstuffs at the earliest possible moment?

Mr. G. Jager

Is the Minister not aware that the official organ of the grocery trade, "The Grocer," only a couple of weeks ago was complaining about large stocks of cheap teas which could not be sold? Is he not aware that, in taking these cheap brands of tea into account in quoting the average price, he is misleading the public?

Major Lloyd George

I am not misleading the public; I would not mislead anybody. We must compare like with like, which is what I have done.

Mr. Manuel

Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that the general public consider him irresponsible? Is he also aware that his main success as a Minister has been keeping food out of the stomachs of the people and limiting it to a small section of the population?

Major Lloyd George

I would say that exactly the opposite is the truth.