Mr. A. T. DAVIES
asked the Minister of Food if his attention has been called to evidence given at Aldershot on 14th June by a quartermaster-sergeant of the Royal Army Service Corps, when it was stated that beef was bought for the Army at 9d. per pound whereas the general public is charged 1s. 6d. a pound; whether it is possible, after consultation with the Secretary of State for War, to buy beef so that the price to the public may be greatly reduced; and whether he will instruct the departments concerned with a view to reducing the price of beef?
§ Sir W. MITCHELL-THOMSON
The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. The bulk of the imported beef available for civilian consumption at the present time is not purchased by any Government Department but is brought into this country by importers in the trade. This beef is, however, controlled both as to wholesale and retail price. The wholesale prices are 8d. per lb. for forequarters and 1s. per lb. for hindquarters, equivalent to 10d. per lb. for the whole body. The retail prices are scheduled according to the joint and range from 5d. per lb. for leg of beef up to 1s. 11d. per lb. for fillet steak; the average price for all joints being approximately between 1s. and 1s. 1d. per lb. I may add that these prices are lower than the world market value of the meat at the present time.