HC Deb 26 January 1948 vol 446 cc80-1W
32. Sir P. Macdonald

asked the Minister of Food the c.i.f. price paid to West Indian sugar producers in each of the years 1939–47; and what would have been the price for each of those years if, as in prewar years, the Colonial sugar price had been the Cuban price plus Imperial preference.

Mr. Strachey

I regret that there is a difficulty in replying to the hon. Member's Question on the basis of c.i.f. prices, owing to the fact the freight rates applicable to British West Indian sugar and Cuban sugar varied considerably. I am, however, able to give the hon. Member the prices paid for West Indian sugar during the years 1939 to 1947 on an f.o.b. basis as follows:

  • 1939–us. 3d. per cwt. (including certificates).
  • 1940–us. 11¼d. per cwt. (including certificates).
  • 1941–12s. 7½d. per cwt. (including certificates).
  • 1942–13s. 9d. per cwt. (including certificates).
  • 1943–14s. 3d. per cwt. (including certificates).
  • 1944–15s. 3d. per cwt. (including certificates).

  • 1945–17s. 3d. per cwt. (including certificates)
  • 1946–19s. 6d. per cwt. (including certificates).
  • 1947–24s. 3d. per cwt. (including certificates).

The comparison with foreign Caribbean prices paid by the Ministry including Cuba, can only be given for the first three years, and are as follows:

  • 1939–8s. 4¼d. per cwt. If full Colonial Preference is added, the equivalent price would be 13s. 1½d.
  • 1940–65. 7½d. per cwt. If full Colonial Preference is added, the equivalent price would be 11s. 4½d.
  • 1941–8s. o¾d. per cwt. If full Colonial Preference is added, the equivalent price would be 12s. 9¾d.

During 1942, 1943 and part of 1944 comparisons are impossible on account of the intervention of Lend/Lease arrangements. After that, until the end of 1947, allocations of Cuban sugar were made by the International Emergency Food Council, from supplies purchased by U.S.A. Government agency at prices which were applied to all recipients of I.E.F.C. allocations including the U.S.A., without regard to duty preferences in U.S.A. or elsewhere. The U.S. Government agreement for Cuban sugar provided a price which was subject to variation up and down. At the beginning of 1946, when British West Indian prices were arranged, the price for Cubans was equal to about 20S. 6d., whilst at the beginning of 1947 the price was equal to about 23s. 3d. f.o.b. Final prices for Cubans were for 1946 235. 3d and for 1947 27s. 7½d. In fixing the West Indian price for the following year, the average price paid for Cuban sugar has always been one of the elements taken into account. This was the case in 1947 when the West Indies were offered a higher price than they asked for in order to enable special funds for rehabilitation and stabilisation to be created. It was again the case for 1948, for which a price of over 27s. 3d. is being paid, although at the time of the negotiations the Cuban price stood somewhere between 21s. and 22s. per cwt.

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