HC Deb 13 March 1958 vol 584 cc594-5
30. Mr. Collins

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is aware that the recommended retail price for prime cuts of bacon has risen to 4s. 6d. per lb. whereas bacon prices to home producers are still unremunerative; and what steps he will take, by price control or otherwise, to ensure that low producer prices are reflected in reduced prices to the consumer.

Mr. John Hare

The price recommendation referred to is produced by a wholesale firm and is based on the current wholesale price of first quality Danish bacon, which increased from 306s. per cwt. to 317s. per cwt. last week. Recent improvements in wholesale prices of English bacon have been reflected in higher prices for bacon pigs. I cannot agree that the average return on pigs sold to bacon factories, which last week was 47s. 6d. per score deadweight as compared with the standard price adjusted for feed of 46s. 9d., is low or unremunerative to producers.

Mr. Collins

As a farmer, surely the Minister is aware that bacon prices in the factories are so bad that the producers are just not selling bacon to the factories, and that they are working only to one-quarter or one-third of their capacity? Is not it fantastic that he should tell us that these retail prices are based upon the prices of Danish bacon when our own farmers are not getting remunerative prices? Will not he do something to end this situation, where our producers get bad prices but the housewives pay very high prices?

Mr. Hare

The hon. Member is not keeping in touch with the situation. If he had complained about the prices of bacon in January, when the average return to the bacon producer was 41s. 7d. per score, he might have made something of his point, but today it is 47s. 6d.