HC Deb 16 June 1954 vol 528 c1935
18. Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

asked the Minister of Food what steps he will take to reduce the retail price of butter purchased by his Department.

Major Lloyd George

The retail price is no longer controlled. It is governed by the normal processes of supply and demand. The current price level is rather lower than that given to the hon. and gallant Member on 24th May last.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

As that 3s. 8d. per lb. butter that the right hon. and gallant Gentleman referred to on 24th May has long since disappeared, is he not guilty of gross profiteering by making a profit of 5d. or 6d. lb. on the butter he is now importing? Could he not easily, without loss to the Exchequer, give the consumer the benefit of some of the profit he is at present making on the sale of the butter he is importing under bulk purchase arrangements?

Major Lloyd George

As I told the hon. and gallant Gentleman in May, it will be some little time before we see at what level the market settles down. We are watching it the whole time. It is an entirely commercial proposition. The price is decided by commercial considerations of supply and demand, and by that only.