§ Mr. Garrett
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement following the report of the National Board for Prices and Incomes on beer prices.
§ Mr. Cledwyn Hughes
In September 1968 I announced that, after discussions with me, the brewing industry had agreed that the standstill on public bar beer prices which began in mid-1966 should be continued for a further 12 months, apart from limited increases on a small range of beers not covered by the existing notification arrangements.
Last April the National Board for Prices and Incomes was asked to examine the structure of costs and prices, including retail margins, in the brewing industry with special regard to the existing return on capital and the industry's ability to finance its investment requirements. The board's report is published today. The submission made by the brewers and retailers, taken together, would have involved an increase in the average retail price of 4.5d. a pint. The board's main conclusion is that the retail price of beer in the public bar should be increased on average by not more than 2d. a pint, to be split in the proportion of two to one in favour of the retailers.
The Government accept this conclusion and agree that beer prices in the public bar may now be increased accordingly. The brewers and licensees have given an assurance that for the next 12 months there will be no further increase in public bar beer prices and they will exercise restraint on increases in the price of beer in other bars. If during this period there were a major change in economic circumstances outside their control they would feel free to discuss the situation with the Government.