§ Sir L. Lyle
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food the sources with the respective amounts from which the State derived its £10,000,000 trading profit in the past year and give in each case the price to the producer of the primary commodity; and whether such price was regarded as adequate by the producer or involved him in loss?
§ Mr. Mabane
I would refer my hon. Friend to my reply on 15th July, 1943, 899W to the hon. and gallant Member for Ton-bridge (Sir A. Baillie) when I stated that the figure of £10,000,000 per annum represented an annual rate of profit based on the three months ended 31st March, 1942, and that since that date such profits have declined substantially. Such profits are in slight relief of the very substantial subsidies incurred on other foodstuffs, and I informed the House on 13th May, 1943, that the net cost of subsidies (after deducting profits) for the year ended 31st March, 1943, was £145,000,000. The past profit of £10,000,000 was mainly derived from oils and fats (£4,000,000), rice (£1,500,000), cocoa (£1,350,000) and dried fruits (£1,250,000), the primary products in each case being imported. For these foods, as for those on which subsidies are incurred, the Ministry of Food has followed a uniform buying policy of paying to producers prices which are considered to be reasonably remunerative.