HC Deb 16 May 1972 vol 837 cc219-20
6. Mr. Ewing

asked the Secretary of State for Agriculture. Fisheries and Food what complaints he has received regarding the increase in the cost of foodstuffs for school meals; and what replies he has sent.

Mr. Prior

One, from the Stirling County Council. The reply sent by my hon. Friend the Minister of State explained the reasons for the increases in prices of dairy products and other commodities.

Mr. Ewing

Is the Minister aware that between 1st January, 1971 and 1st January, 1972, a period for which he will accept responsibility, the price of vegetable oil to Stirling County Council rose by 37.74 per cent., sugar by 22 per cent. and eggs by 27 per cent.—and these are discounted prices? In the reply sent to Stirling County Council, the Minister said that high wage settlements were part of the reason for those substantial in- creases. Does the right hon. Gentleman consider that the £300 per week increase to the Chairman of Associated Portland Cement last year is an inflationary settlement compared with the increase which the railway workers are claiming today? When can the country expect—

Mr. Speaker

Order. There must be some brevity in supplementary questions.

Mr. Prior

The reply sent by my hon. Friend dealt with certain prices increases to which the Clerk to the Stirlingshire County Council had referred in his letter. These seemed to us to be far higher than was justified by the circumstances, and we advised the Clerk to look to his contracting.