HC Deb 04 July 1972 vol 840 c218
3. Mr. David Clark

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what was the price of a pint of beer in public bars in June, 1970; and what is the price at the latest convenient date.

Mr. Chichester-Clark

I regret that the average price of draught beer sold in public bars in June, 1970, is not available, but in July, 1970, it was about 26.5 old pence a pint, compared with about 13.0 new pence a pint in April, 1972. The average prices given relate to a variety of beers in differing proportions and make no allowance for variations in the original specific gravities of the same beers. They are therefore not strictly comparable.

Mr. Clark

Does the hon. Gentleman agree that such price rises are inflationary and, in view of the recent forecast of a dividend increase by Watney's of over 86 per cent. between 1971 and 1973, will he give an assurance that the Government will help to keep down these prices?

Mr. Chichester-CIark

This is not a matter for me, except in so far as it is a constituent part of the Index of Retail Prices, but I understand that leading brewers subscribe to the CBI undertaking and are honouring it. The rise in price is to some extent a hangover from the Labour Government in so far as it was the National Board for Prices and Incomes which recommended price increases. The price increases were recommended to enable brewers to improve breweries and distribution, hence the more substantial profit margin.

Mr. Evelyn King

Did not the National Board for Prices and Incomes make a thorough investigation of the subject and report that prices were moderate and reasonable? Is it not a fact that that board is likely to have been far more expert in these matters than is the hon.