§ 53. Mr. Loughlin
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in view of the fact that the National Federation of Fresh Meat Wholesalers was refused the opportunity to give evidence at the recent inquiry on beef prices, if he will give an assurance that the organisation will be consulted on matters affecting the meat trade in the future.
§ Mr. Anthony Stodart
Representatives of the Federation of Fresh Meat Wholesalers and of other fresh meat wholesalers' organisations did give evidence to the committee. The federation is consulted weekly on matters affecting the meat trade.
§ 54. Mr. Robert Hughes
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will detail in the OFFICIAL REPORT the percentage and money value changes in the average retail prices of the 80 important items of food as collected for the purposes of the retail food prices index between July 1970 and the latest date for which prices are available.
§ Mr. Godber
The following table shows the percentage and money value changes in the average retail prices of 67W about 80 important items of food, as collected for the purposes of the Index of Retail Food Prices, between 21st July 1970 and 12th December 1972, the latest date for which information is available:
Change in Average Price Item Percentage Money Value (in new pence) Beef: Home-killed Chuck +46.3 +15.0 Sirloin (without bone) +46.0 +21.1 Silverside (without bone)* +40.3 +17.1 Back ribs (with bone)* +49.5 +14.3 Fore ribs (with bone) +48.1 +13.7 Brisket (with bone) +62.9 +11.7 Rump steak* +41.1 +24.1 Beef: Imported chilled Chuck +50.9 +13.9 Silverside (without bone)* +38.5 +13.4 Rump steak* +28.0 +13.2 Lamb: Home killed Loin (with bone) +31.8 +11.6 Breast* +30.9 +3.4 Best end of neck +29.6 +8.3 Shoulder (with bone) +24.9 +6.5 Leg (with bone) +28.3 +10.0 Lamb: Imported Loin (with bone) +46.8 +12.4 Breast* +50.0 +3.3 Best end of neck +45.2 +9.8 Shoulder (with bone) +42.6 +8.1 Leg (with bone) +39.2 +11.3 Pork: Home-killed Leg (foot off) +41.6 +11.7 Belly* +37.9 +6.9 Loin (with bone) +35.5 +12.0 Sausages Pork +23.3 +4.4 Beef +31.2 +4.9 Roasting chicken Broiler, frozen, 3 lb. +14.0 +2.3 Fresh or chilled, 4 lb. (oven ready) +14.9 +2.9 Fresh fish Cod fillets +71.0 +14.9 Haddock fillets +54.3 +13.8 Haddock, smoked whole +54.3 +12.6 Plaice fillets +55.0 +17.7 Halibut cuts +47.0 +21.7 Herrings +52.6 +6.0 Kippers (with bone) +45.5 +7.0 Fresh vegetables Potatoes, old, loose: White† — — Red† — — Potatoes, new, loose† — — Tomatoes +54.9 +6.7 Cabbage, greens +15.8 +0.6 Cabbage, hearted +2.6 +0.1 Cauliflower or broccoli -1.2 -0.1 Brussels sprouts† — — Peas† — — Runner beans† — — Carrots -22.9 -1.1 Onions -27.7 -1.8 Mushrooms, per ¼lb. +14.3 +0.9
Change in Average Price Item Percentage Money Value (in new pence) Fresh fruit Apples, cooking +29.3 +2.2 Apples, dessert +27.2 +2.8 Pears, dessert +19.4 +1.9 Oranges +30.0 +2.1 Bananas +2.3 +0.2 Bread White, 1¾lb. wrapped and sliced loaf +15.6 +1.4 White, 1¾lb. unwrapped loaf +16.9 +1.5 White, 14oz. loaf +26.9 +1.4 Brown, 14oz. loaf +23.3 +1.4 Flour Self-raising, per 3lb. +23.5 +2.3 Bacon Collar* +25.1 +6.0 Gammon* +26.1 +9.1 Middle cut, smoked* +26.9 +8.3 Back, smoked +33.9 +11.3 Back, unsmoked +34.1 +10.9 Streaky, smoked +30.6 +6.7 Ham (not shoulder) +12.2 +6.8 Pork luncheon meat 12 oz. can +5.8 +0.8 Canned (red) salmon Half-size can +20.6 +5.7 Milk, ordinary, per pint +19.6 +0.9 Butter New Zealand +37.0 +6.4 Danish +24.8 +5.0 Margarine, per ½lb. Standard quality (without added butter) +13.0 +0.7 Lower priced +18.2 +0.8 Lard nc nc Cheese, cheddar type +73.0 +13.5 Eggs, per dozen Large +13.6 +3.0 Standard +18.7 +3.5 Medium +26.6 +4.2 Sugar, granulated, 2 lb. +16.0 +1.2 Instant coffee, per 4 oz. +16.2 +4.1 Tea, per ¼ lb. Higher priced +6.9 +0.7 Medium priced +5.0 +0.4 Lower priced +3.9 +0.3 * Or Scottish equivalent. † Insufficient or no quotations to make comparison.
§ 56. Mr. James Lamond
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what communications he has received since 6th November from the National Farmers' Union regarding food prices.
§ 57. Mr. John Wells
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will set up an urgent inquiry into the egg industry, similar to the recent beef inquiry.
§ Mr. Anthony Stodart
There have been no dramatic changes in the retail prices of eggs, and there is therefore no need for an inquiry such as that into beef prices.
§ 58. Mr. Cordle
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food by how much, and by what percentage, the price of a large cut bread loaf has increased since 1st January 1963; what has been the percentage increase in the price of a large cut bread loaf since 18th June 1970; and whether he will make a statement.
§ Mrs. Fenner
On the basis of information collected for the purposes of the General Index of Retail Prices, the average price of a white, 1¾ lb. wrapped and sliced loaf increased by 4.7p, or about 82½ per cent. between 15th January 1963 and 12th December 1972, the latest date for which information is available. Since 16th June 1970 the average price has increased by 15.6 per cent.
§ 59. Mr. Arthur Lewis
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will give a list of the actions taken by his Department during the year ended December 1972 to reduce food prices; and what were the results in each of these cases.
§ Mr. Godber
The interests of consumers were fully taken into account in all policy decisions affecting food prices, and in the negotiations relating to our adoption of the common agricultural policy of the European Economic Community. The more important specific measures adopted by the Government to hold down the level of food prices were as follows.
The controlled price of milk for liquid consumption was reduced by ½p a pint for the four months from April to July. The ex-refinery price of sugar was reduced by means of Exchequer payments, and this reduction was reflected in prices paid by food manufacturers and in retail prices of sugar. Arrangements were made through the Potato Marketing 70W Board to limit the normal seasonal increase in potato prices towards the end of the maincrop season. Non-preferential tariffs on imports of beef and veal were suspended during the summer and again from the beginning of November. The decision was taken not to impose the third stage of the duty on imported mutton and lamb. Increased quotas for imported apples were agreed in November. Wholesale prices of home produced bacon were kept at the levels prevailing on 6th November. During the standstill I refused to allow price increases for a number of manufactured foods, and in other cases allowed smaller increases than those proposed by manufacturers; in the distributive sector I took steps to ensure that cash margins were not increased and that promotional activites were maintained; the Food Prices Unit secured price reductions in over 200 cases investigated following consumer complaints. It is not possible to evaluate precisely the effect of the measures taken by the Government on specific prices since these are determined in practice by the interactions of various market factors, but I am satisfied that these actions helped to contain the rise in consumer prices.
§ Mrs. Fenner
I see no reason to think that the figure given to the House on 11th April 1972 is not still of the right order.—[Vol. 835, c.204–5.]
§ Mr. Strang
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations he has received for an increase in the price of bread during the second phase of the Government's policy on inflation.
§ Mr. Godber
I have received several representations from the bakery industry about the need for an early increase in bread prices, but none that relate specifically to the second phase of the Government's programme for controlling inflation.