HC Deb 11 May 1971 vol 817 c186
9. Mr. Roger White

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what proportion of the household food bill in the United Kingdom is represented by the cost of processing and packaging.

Mr. Prior

It is not possible to give a precise figure, but I would estimate that the proportion would be in the region of a fifth to a quarter.

Mr. White

I think my right hon. Friend would agree that these are essentially labour costs. Could we not hope in future to see some reduction as a result of the cut in selective employment tax?

Mr. Prior

Food packaging and processing, including labour costs, in so far as they form part of the manufacturing process, already mostly qualify for S.E.T. refund. But I agree that the reduction of this iniquitous tax by half will lead to some reduction in prices.