§ Mr. Lyons
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food when it was that complaint first came to his Department on the great increase in price of loose and processed peas; what action has ever been taken in the matter; and whether a decision has now been reached to control the price of these foodstuffs?
§ Mr. Boothby
Following a partial failure of the home crop and the embargo placed upon the export of peas by the Netherlands Government, numerous complaints of high prices reached my Department during the autumn and winter of 1939. Concurrently the demand for pulses for the forces rose steeply. Full advantage could not be taken of the subsequent removal of the Dutch embargo owing to the need to conserve foreign exchange, and resort was had to Central European and other more distant markets. Price control was considered on several occasions during the spring, but was postponed until the weight of anticipated arrivals, which considerably exceeded current requirements, brought about a reduction in the prices then reigning. Unfortunately recent developments, including the entry of Italy into the war, have prevented the arrival of purchases made from Central Europe and other sources, and my Noble Friend cannot hold out hopes of any immediate amelioration of the supply position. He proposes, therefore, to impose price control at once.