HC Deb 09 November 1916 vol 87 cc457-8W

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that the London master bakers decided to increase the price of a quartern loaf on and after 6th November from l0d. to l0½d.; if he is aware that this is an increase of 1d. per quartern loaf within the last three weeks; if he is aware that the price of bread and flour has advanced more than 1d. per pound since the commencement of the War, and that an extra universal increase of 1d. per pound upon bread and flour means that the consumers have to pay at least £1,250,000 per week more for their flour and bread; and if the Government intend taking any action in the matter with a view of bringing the price of bread down to at least 7d. per quartern loaf?


I am aware of the increase in the price of bread in London, which appears to be mainly due to the recent increases in the price of flour following on the rise in wheat prices. The reduction of the price of the quartern loaf to 7d. could only be done by subsidising bakers or millers out of the public funds. The estimate in the question of the increase in the cost to consumers of a rise of 1d. per 4 pounds of bread appears excessive as applied to a week's consumption. According to the figures in the possession of the Board of Trade, it would more closely represent the increased cost of a month's consumption.


asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will state the present prices of bread, milk, and potatoes in London and in Berlin, respectively?


It is impossible to give a comparison which would not be seriously misleading, inasmuch as Berlin prices for the articles mentioned are not market prices at which supplies can be freely bought, but officially fixed maxima, at which very limited rations are obtainable. Moreover, the bread obtainable in Berlin is "war bread," composed mainly of coarsely milled rye flour, potato preparations, and a small proportion of wheaten flour only.