§ 19. Mr. Scott-Hopkins
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what consultations he is holding with the wholesale meat trade concerning prices in the trade.
§ The Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mr. Christopher Soames)
My Department is in frequent touch with the meat trade, but I am having no special consultations at present.
§ Mr. Scott-Hopkins
Does not my right hon. Friend agree, in view of the very unsatisfactory situation which exists when producers' prices fall very heavily and there is no reflection in the retail price to the housewife, that urgent investigations should be made on his part to find a solution to this problem so that the prices can be adjusted quickly, to the housewives' benefit? Would not that be very advantageous?
§ Mr. Soames
Wholesale prices have been very low and were very low in the earlier part of this year. They have recovered somewhat in recent months. As my hon. Friend is aware, I have no control over retail prices.
§ Mr. Bence
Should not the right hon. Gentleman look into this, because there 1519 has been a tremendous fall in wholesale prices of fatstock in the last couple of years, yet there has been no reflection at all in retail prices, not only for prime cuts, but for cuts of coarse meat? Coarse meat is as dear as ever, yet wholesale prices have fallen drastically.
§ Mr. Soames
It is not correct to say that there has been a price fall over the last two years, though the price of meat has varied considerably. There was a considerable price fall in the spring and summer of this year. It is not correct to say that there has been no reduction in retail prices. There has been some considerable reduction—particularly of the cheaper cuts of meat—although I would agree that it has not followed directly on the fall in wholesale prices.