HC Deb 09 February 1956 vol 548 c1798
41. Mr. Remnant

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how the average retail price of Indian tea compares with that ruling a year ago; and the corresponding London auction prices.

Mr. Amory

Packeted teas normally consist of a blend of Indian and other tea. The average retail price per 1b. is now about 6s. 6d. compared with about 7s. 6d. a year ago. The average price per 1b. for all teas sold at London Auctions last week was 4s. 4d. and 6s. 11d. a year ago, and for Indian teas 4s. 2d. and 6s. 10¼d. respectively.

Mr. Remnant

Does my right hon. Friend appreciate how this reduction is welcomed by everybody, whether connected with the trade or outside it? Also, does he not think that a meed of praise should be given to wholesalers and blenders for holding a balance between the excessively high prices of 1954 and, in many cases, the low ones at auctions now?

Mr. Amory

I will always give a meed of praise whenever the price is moving downwards in the way that it is at present.

Mr. Willey

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this welcome decrease is generally attributed to the action which we on this side of the House took, and to the action taken by the Prime Minister of Ceylon, which was not supported by the right hon. Gentleman's predecessors? Will the right hon. Gentleman tell the House how these retail prices compare with those which obtained under a Labour Government?

Mr. Amory

I am willing to give my meed of praise to anybody, including the hon. Gentleman, when the situation is as satisfactory as it is today.