HC Deb 13 July 1970 vol 803 cc1143-4
52. Mr. Janner

asked the Minister of Technology what consultations he had with the tobacco industry before approving increases of prices in all pipe tobaccos.

Mr. Ridley

A leading firm gave notice, under the early warning arrangements, of its intention to increase prices, and as the particulars of increased costs which it gave justified the increase no objection was raised. There were no wider consultations with the industry.

Mr. Janner

In view of the relative harmlessness of the smoking of pipe tobacco, as opposed to cigarettes, will the Minister take steps to procure a reduction in its price, rather than permit an increase?

Mr. Ridley

I gather that the reasons for the increase are partly higher wages and partly the fact that we have run out of stocks of Rhodesian leaf and have had to buy more expensive American leaf, and I would not attempt to intervene in a situation of that sort.

Mr. Wallace

Will the hon. Gentleman say why these price increases were not included in many others rushed in just before 18th June?

Mr. Ridley

Because they only reached the Department after the election.