§ Mr. Ron Lewis
asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection what action she is taking on bread prices following her Department's announcement on 10th January.
§ Mrs. Shirley Williams
Following the Price Commission's determinations on recent price notifications from the major plant bakers which resulted from the wage settlements in the baking industry and the application of the new Price Code, I have considered the position of the subsidy and the retail price of bread. I have decided that retail prices should be able to rise to the extent necessary to cover the commission's determinations. There will also be a small additional price adjustment on loaves of special interest to the craft bakers because of the additional retail wage and other costs they have incurred, and an adjustment to the differential in Northern Ireland.
Most retail bread prices in Great Britain will therefore rise from Tuesday 18th February by up to 1½ p on large and ½p on small standard loaves. The increases on large non-standard loaves will normally also be 1½p, although one or two special varieties may rise by 2p. Small non-standard loaves will rise by up to 1p. Because of special factors affecting Northern Ireland, the increase in the maximum price for standard loaves there will be 1p more on a large loaf and ½p on a small loaf. Consequential amendments may be expected in the prices of non-subsidised bread products. An order revising the statutory maximum prices accordingly will be laid before the House this week.
The rate of subsidy—which was increased on 12th January on an interim basis pending my review of retail prices—will be restored to its earlier level, subject to any minor adjustments necessary in the light of the commission's determinations.