HC Deb 25 January 1954 vol 522 c1455
43. Mr. Dodds

asked the Minister of Food whether, following the further increase in the price of tea, he will impose price control, in view of the hardship likely to be caused by the increase

Dr. Hill

No, Sir.

Mr. Dodds

Is not the hon. Gentleman at least concerned that the price of tea has gone up by about 40 per cent, in the last 18 months? Does he not know of the hardship which this is causing among old age pensioners and others? Surely the Government will do something about it.

Dr. Hill

The hon. Member should realise that, a year ago the price of the common tea which is the basis of blended tea was 1s. 11d. per lb. at the auctions—a level which meant disaster and unemployment in the Indian tea gardens—and that the price has now risen to 4s. 3¾d. per lb. I should have thought that the hon. Gentleman would have welcomed the opportunity of paying the price for better conditions in the industry.

Mr. Gaitskell

Does not the hon. Gentleman realise that nobody is suggesting bringing hardship to Ceylon and other growers, but that we are suggesting that the Government should reintroduce the subsidy on tea?

Dr. Hill

That was not the suggestion in the original Question, but let me add that the reintroduction of the subsidy means the reintroduction of control and rationing, which my right hon. and gallant Friend is not prepared to do.

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