HC Deb 18 November 1957 vol 578 cc20-1
31. Mr. Collins

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is aware that, although since 28th September wholesale prices for best English bacon have dropped by 10 per cent., there has been no fall in retail prices other than a reduction of 2d. per lb. in the price of prime back bacon; and if he will take steps, by reintroducing price control or otherwise, to ensure that lower pig prices to farmers are reflected by lower bacon prices in the shops.

Mr. Godber

According to my right hon. Friend's information, price reductions have by no means been confined to prime back bacon nor limited to 2d. a lb. though, of course, the position varies considerably from shop to shop. The answer to the second part of the question is. "No, Sir."

Mr. Collins

Is the Minister aware that the reduction in price quoted in the Question is the only one quoted, since 28th September, in The Grocer, and they are official prices? Is he further aware that, as a result of the Government's support price policy, the taxpayers are paying heavily, farmers are receiving low prices, and the housewife is paying high prices? What does the Minister propose to do when there is a plentiful supply to bring down the prices in the shops?

Mr. Godber

I cannot accept that this reduction is representative. The information I have shows very much more substantial falls in a large number of retail shops, and, indeed, that is borne out by the information which my own wife gave me over the weekend.

Mr. T. Williams

Will the hon. Gentleman favour hon. Members by letting them have the prices he refers to? Secondly, is there no point between a low wholesale price and a high retail price when his right hon. Friend will think it his duty to interfere on behalf of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who is concerned with inflation?

Mr. Godber

I certainly do not think that it would help if we were to interfere and start to control prices. I do not believe that that has in the past had a beneficial effect, and I do not think that housewives would welcome it.