asked the Minister of National Service if edible oil, formerly used in the fish-frying, baking, and certain other trades, and, until recently, sold for such purposes at £75 per ton, is now being largely allocated to soap makers for the manufacture of soap at a price not more, and possibly less, than that paid by the fish-frying trade; if he is aware that this trade is now compelled to accept a substitute, of which the original oil forms a portion, and to pay £150 for such compound; if he is aware that this has affected the trade to such an extent that many have had to close down; and if he will state the profit made by the Government out of the difference in price between the £69 per ton paid by the Ministry of Food to the oil refiners and the price at which the oil is disposed of to the compound oil manufacturers?
§ Major ASTOR
In view of the scarcity of refining residues, and in order to ensure the production of the requisite quantity of glycerine for the manufacture of munitions, it has been found necessary to allocate to soap-makers a limited amount of edible oil. The compound supplied to the fish-frying trade is manufactured from materials purchased at varying prices and supplied at a flat rate 1565W in some cases actually below cost. I am not aware that fish-fryers have had to close down owing to the price of compound. In any case, there is no considerable profit derived from its sale by the Ministry of Food, nor is the price of compound disproportionate to that of margarine and edible dripping.