§ Mr. CAUTLEY
asked the Minister of Food whether country grocers, in order to prepare against the threatened railway strike, laid in and still hold unusually large stocks of sugar, on the average of a month's supply; and whether, in fixing the time for the anticipated reduction in the controlled price of sugar, he will so arrange matters as to allow these tradesmen a reasonable time to clear their stocks?
§ Sip W. MITCHELL-THOMSON
I am aware that the steps taken in connection with the recent emergency led to retail traders holding larger stocks of sugar than they otherwise would have held. The matter has been carefully considered, and retailers have been allowed an extra fortnight during870W which they may sell sugar at the higher price, in order to reduce their surplus stocks. It could not be expected that a retailer should be afforded an opportunity of obtaining the higher price on all the stock he had on hand on 1st November. In the ordinary way of trade a retailer always holds a margin of stock, and as he had the opportunity of securing additional profits on stock so held on the various occasions when the price of sugar was advanced, it is only reasonable that he should accept the risk of loss, on the occasion of a fall of prices, in respect of such stock as he would have held in normal circumstances.
§ Mr. HURD
asked the Minister of Food whether he has received representations from the Frome Co-operative and Industrial Society, Limited, and other similar bodies as to the serious loss entailed upon them by the reduction in the controlled price of sugar by 2d. per Ib. on 15th November; and whether he will allow a rebate on retailers' stock purchased at a higher figure?
§ Sir W. MITCHELL-THOMSON
I would refer the hon. Member to the reply on this subject already given to the hon. and learned Member for East Grinstead (Mr. Cautley).