§ 28 and 29. Mr. Lewis
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) if he will state the districts visited by the officers of his marketing department when visiting the 336 shops selling potatoes on 28th May;
(2) how many of his officers from the marketing department were engaged on visiting 336 premises selling potatoes on 28th May; what transport was used; how long the investigation took; and what was the cost.
On 6th–8th, 13th–15th and 28th–29th May, eight of my staff of marketing officers carried out surveys of prices at which potatoes were on sale in shops and market stalls in Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff and London. On 5th June, prices in London alone were observed by two officers.
So far as possible, the same shops and stalls were included on each occasion, so as to get comparable results. The total number of observations made was 1,218. Parts of two successive days were devoted to this work on each occasion. Public transport was used and no special costs were incurred.
§ Mr. Lewis
Is the Minister aware that in his original Answer he said that the investigations had been made on the day of his Answer—28th May—but that on that date no potatoes were available 1041 London at under 4d. per lb.? I have made investigations among hundreds of costermongers in the East End of London who have confirmed my figures. Will the Minister correct his?
No, I am afraid I cannot correct my figures. My advice is that on 28th May over half of the shops visited were offering potatoes at 3d. per lb. or less.
§ Mr. Willey
Under what authority does the Minister act in sending out these officials to make these inquiries?
One of the objects of having these officers on my staff is that they should perform duties of market intelligence.