HC Deb 27 February 1919 vol 112 cc1968-9W

asked the Food Controller whether his attention has been drawn to a speech delivered before the Balham, Tooting, and District Traders' Association; and, if so, whether he can give any indication as to the correctness or otherwise of the statements made with reference to the profits of grocers during the War?


I have seen the speech to which the hon. Member refers. The margins allowed to grocers have been fixed, after close investigation, by the Costings Section of my Department on a basis which leaves a reasonable profit, having regard to the nature of the services rendered. These margins have been reviewed from time to time, and a further investigation is being made at the present time in order to ascertain the extent to which increased supplies may justify reduced margins. I would inform the hon. Member that it was necessary to fix a flat rate of remuneration for all grocers in order to enable the majority of distributors to obtain a fair return, and thereby to avoid any dislocation in the distribution of foodstuffs which would result in the reappearance of queues. It is, of course, inevitable that the fixing of a flat rate operates in favour of the most efficient distributor, and is in such cases higher than would be allowed to such distributors if they stood alone. I have no knowledge of the actual figures of profit earned by grocers, but, having regard to the conditions to which I have referred, I have no reason to suppose that they are excessive.

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