HC Deb 11 May 1971 vol 817 cc193-4
23. Mr. Kinsey

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is his policy with regard to Government assistance towards the provision of hypermarkets, in view of their contribution towards a lower cost of living.

Mr. Prior

The provision of hypermarkets is largely a matter of commercial judgment for the firms concerned.

Mr. Kinsey

While agreeing that that is so, may I ask my right hon. Friend whether he is aware that the promoters of the hypermarkets are of the opinion that they can save the housewife about 5 per cent. on food costs and 20 per cent. on non-durables? Would he not agree that that is a very high figure? Is he further aware that if he could persuade local authorities to support these promoters it would be a good thing for the housewife?

Mr. Prior

I do not think that there is any unanimity on the point made by my hon. Friend. In so far as any development of increased competition will reduce prices, then it has my blessing.

Mr. Buchan

Does the right hon. Gentleman remember that this was part of the problem we discussed yesterday when the House passed a Motion calling for an organisation to deal with prices? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that by his answers today he is in grave danger of flouting the will of this House, not for the first time? Is he aware that he is putting himself in the position of Marie Antoinette and that I should not like to see him lose his head? Will he tell us when he will carry out the terms of the Motion and set up such an organisation?

Mr. Prior

I cannot see the relevance of that supplementary question to the original Question.

Mr. William Price

In view of the concern about meat prices and the Minister's advice to people yesterday to eat pork instead of beef, may I, as a vegetarian, sincerely ask him to suggest that the answer is to give up meat altogether and to rely on peaches?

Mr. Prior

This is a Question about hypermarkets.

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