HC Deb 12 July 1954 vol 530 cc16-7
27. Mr. Dodds

asked the Minister of Food by what amount the consumption of butter dropped in May and June of this year, when compared with a similar period in 1951.

Dr. Hill

Though there can be as yet no firm estimate of butter consumption during May and June this year the quantity released by the Ministry, which does not include the butter imported by the trade, shows no fall when compared with the same months in 1951.

Mr. Dodds

How does the hon. Gentleman reconcile that reply with the official figures that for the first three months butter consumption went down by 16 per cent.? Is it not a fact that before long we shall be referring to the good old days of 1951?

Dr. Hill

The Question refers to the months of May and June, the supplementary question to some other months.

34. Mr. Partridge

asked the Minister of Food how the retail price of butter in this country compares with that in other Western European countries.

Dr. Hill

I will, with permission, circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT a list of retail butter prices in some West European countries. It shows that the present price range of 3s. 8d. to 4s. 2d. per lb. in this country compares favourably with prices ruling on the Continent.

Mr. Partridge

In anticipation of the receipt of those figures, can the Parliamentary Secretary tell us the price of butter in France, for example?

Dr. Hill

Yes. Sir; 6s. 1½d. per lb.

Mr. Lewis

When the Parliamentary Secretary circulates those figures will he also include a table of figures showing a comparison with October, 1951, to date?

Dr. Hill

If the hon. Gentleman will put a Question on the Order Paper I will do my best to satisfy him.

Mr. Dodds

Is it the ambition of the Government to get butter up to 6s. 1½d. per lb.?

Dr. Hill

That is not borne out by the recent experience of a fall in butter prices.

Mr. Baldwin

Is my hon. Friend aware that butter is sold cheaper in this country than in any other country in the world? Is it not a fact that the United States, who are sending us butter, have the surplus which enables them to do so only because they are charging their own people at the rate of 5s. 6d. a lb. for it?

Mr. Donnelly

Do the supplementary questions which we have heard from the hon. Member for Leominster (Mr. Baldwin) mean that farmers are now asking for more?

Following is the information:

s. d.
France 6
Austria 4 3
West Germany 4
Switzerland 7 6
Netherlands 3 10
Denmark 3 6