§ 10. Mr. Jessel
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to what extent recent trends in the commodity price of coffee have been reflected in its retail price.
§ Mr. Wiggin
In the last six months both the green coffee price and the retail price of soluble coffee have shown a downward trend.
§ Mr. Jessel
If one goes back more than six months—to twelve months—has there not been a substantial downward trend whereby the commodity world price of coffee has dropped by about 30 per cent.? Does it not mean that people are still paying far too much for coffee, which is an important item in many people's budgets, particularly those who have to stay up late at night or get up early in the morning? Can anything be done about it? Does my right hon. Friend foresee the retail price of coffee dropping?
§ Mr. Wiggin
I take the point made by my hon. Friend at this hour in the morning. The retail price of soluble coffee is lower now than it was three and a half years ago and is only slightly above the lowest level in that period. The international coffee agreement appears to be working adequately. My hon. Friend will know that the price of coffee is regulated by other things, including transport, wages, and so on. I am satisfied that the picture is not quite as my hon. Friend paints it.