HC Deb 03 July 1958 vol 590 cc1563-4
13. Mrs. Castle

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what was the subsidy on a 200 lb. bag of maize meal and wheat flour, respectively, in Northern Rhodesia in July, 1953; what is the subsidy today; and what has been the effect on the price of maize and flour, respectively, due to changes in the subsidy during this period.

Mr. Profumo

In July, 1953, the subsidy was £1 6s. 2d. and £1 10s. 0d., respectively, per 200 lb. bag of whole grain. In July, 1955, responsibility for the control of maize meal and wheat flour prices was assumed by the Federal Government. I am not therefore able to give any information in reply to the latter part of the Question.

Mrs. Castle

Does not the Under-Secretary's inability to give any information mean that the Colonial Secretary has been able to mislead the House with impunity? Did not the Colonial Secretary say on 13th May, in reply to a similar question from me: As for her remarks about the removal of subsidies, there were no subsidies to remove.—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 13th May, 1958; Vol. 588, c. 213.] Has not the Under-Secretary now proved that there were some subsidies to remove? Is it not a fact that they have been removed since the Federation began, with the result that there has been an increase of 100s. in the price of maize and a substantial increase in the price of bread? Can we have more accurate replies from the Colonial Secretary in future?

Mr. Profumo

My right hon. Friend has never intentionally misled the House, and I hope that the hon. Lady will be the first to admit that. My reply to the last part of her question is that I am not trying to withhold information, but the hon. Lady will have to approach the Federal Government direct.

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