§ Mr. BRIANT
asked the Minister of Food whether traders are willing to sell dried fruits at £75 per ton; whether the Ministry of Food forbids them to do so in this country; and, if so, for what reason?
§ Mr. McCURDY
The fixed maxium wholesale prices of dried fruits range from £196 to £60 13s. 4d. per ton, according to variety. These prices are maxima, and there is nothing to prevent wholesalers making sales at lower prices. Several varieties of dried fruits are, in fact, frequently sold at varying prices below the maxima fixed by the Dried Fruits (Wholesale Prices) Order, 1919. I may add that, as stated last week, it is my intention to remove statutory control of dried fruits as from 2nd August.
§ Major ENTWISTLE
asked the Minister of Food what were the stocks of dried fruit in the United Kingdom on 30th April, 1919, and 30th April, 1920, respectively; what was the average import price of these various dried fruits, customs duty included; and what is the average price at present being charged to retailers and to the public respectively?
§ Mr. McCURDY
I am unable to give the figures asked for in the first part of the question, as official records are only kept of stocks of currants and raisins. On 30th April, 1919, the importation of dried fruits was in private hands, and on 30th April, 1920, the importation of a considerable number of varieties of dried fruits was also in private hands. It is not, therefore, possible to give the average import price on the dates in question. The average maximum price to retailers of the dried fruits scheduled in the Dried Fruits (Wholesale Prices) Order, 1919, is 127s. 2d. per cwt., and the average maximum price to the public of the dried fruits scheduled in the Dried Fruits (Retail Prices) Order, 1918, is 1s. 5d. per lb. (to the nearest penny). I may add that236W sales below these maxima are of frequent occurrence, and that it is intended to revoke both Orders as from 2nd August.