§ Mr. HOGGE
asked the Minister of Food (1) whether the Ministry has increased the price of Danish bacon by 22s. per cwt. in order to get rid of large stocks of American bacon, much of which is unsavoury;
(2) whether the Ministry of Food has decided to subsidise the Canadian bacon industry by giving Canadian curers a 244W preferential price to the extent of 20s. per cwt.; and, if so, on what grounds has this preference been given?
§ Mr. McCURDY
Prices paid for Canadian bacon are substantially higher than those paid for American bacon. The Canadian bacon is, however, correspondingly better in quality. In comparison with the price paid for Danish bacon the higher cost of Canadian bacon is mainly due to the difference in the rates of exchange, the pound sterling being worth approximately 15s. in Canada and approximately 28s. in Denmark. The Minis try has to obtain supplies in various countries in which, owing to the exchange and other reasons, the prices show considerable variation and it is impracticable to fix selling prices on the actual individual cost of particular consignments. The selling prices of the Ministry are fixed on a scale in accordance with quality so that the average price obtained may cover the total cost without loss to the taxpayer. It was in accordance with this policy that the recent advance of 22s. per cwt. in the selling price of Danish bacon took place.
§ Mr. McCURDY
I have made inquiries into the point raised by the hon. Member, and find that the detailed figures for which he is asking could not be extracted from the books of the Ministry without very considerable labour and expense. The staff of the Department is at present undergoing drastic reductions, and I hope therefore that the hon. Member will not press for labour to be employed on making such an investigation.