§ Mr. Bossom
asked the Minister of Food if he will publish a list of items upon which he has made a profit and those upon which he has made a loss in bulk purchasing transactions in 1950.136W
§ Mr. Webb
The total of food subsidies is normally fixed at the beginning of the financial year and announced in the Chancellor's Budget statement. This total is built up from estimates of the trading deficits and surpluses on individual commodities in the light of estimated costs and selling prices. These can be divided into two categories:
(A) Basic foodstuffs subsidised as a matter of Government policy; (B) Non-basic foodstuffs, on which my Department plans to achieve a trading surplus or on which it aims to incur neither trading surplus nor deficit.
It is essential for my Department, if it is to adhere to the subsidy total, to have flexibility of operation as between commodities, and selling prices have to be adjusted from time to time by reference to variations in costs and quantities available for distribution. Accordingly, deficits and surpluses on food trading arise mainly from the implementation of the overall subsidy policy.
The latest period for which a return can be made is the financial year ended 31st March, 1950. In that period such trading deficits or subsidies were incurred on the commodities shown at "A" and these were partly offset by trading surpluses on those shown under "B." Not all of these foodstuffs were procured under bulk purchasing arrangements.
"A"—TRADING DEFICITS "B"—TRADING SURPLUSES Animal feedingstuffs Egg products Bacon Canned fish Bread and flour Canned meat Shell eggs Canned fruit Meat (including carcase, canned corned, poultry and rabbits) Coffee Cocoa Dried fruit Milk Fresh fruit Milk Products (butter, cheese, condensed milk) Oils and fats Pulses (edible) Margarine and Cooking fat Rice Starch Sugar (excluding domestic) Sugar (domestic) Tea Potatoes Fish