HC Deb 25 July 1940 vol 363 cc1002-3W
Colonel Carver

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he is aware of the complete breakdown in the efficient distribution of eggs which has resulted from the imposition of a maximum price for retailers without the imposition of a similar maximum price between retailer and wholesaler; and whether he proposes to take steps to introduce without delay arrangements which will safeguard the interests of all concerned?

Mr. Boothby

I am not aware that there has been a complete breakdown in the efficient distribution of eggs, though difficulty has been caused through traders paying prices up to the maxima in the Order, which were intended to govern retail sales. The present situation is being considered in consultation with representatives of all sections of the trade, but in view of the great shortage of eggs and the complexity of the usual trade channels the problem does not permit of an easy solution.

Sir L. Lyle

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he will analyse the books of representative poultry keepers, with the object of ascertaining what would be a fair price for eggs?

Mr. Boothby

Owing to the very great diversity of methods and conditions of production and of marketing an analysis of books would not yield useful results. The Eggs and Poultry Reorganisation Commission for England and Wales in their report issued in January, 1935, in dealing with this question, statedWhile we recognise the difficulties of ascertaining the real costs of egg production we have been impressed by the wide variations in the figures of costs that have been submitted, even when those costs related to apparently similar types of production units in the same district. We have come to the conclusion that it is quite impossible, having regard to all the difficulties, to calculate a representative cost of egg production either for the industry as a whole, or for the general farmer and the specialist producer separately.

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