Oral Answers to Questions — Food Subsidies (Cost of Living)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th October 1944.

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Photo of Mr William Craven-Ellis Mr William Craven-Ellis , Southampton 12:00 am, 24th October 1944

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury what would be the increase in the cost-of-living index if the subsidies on bread, milk, sugar, eggs, etc., amounting to £214,000,000 in the present financial year, were withdrawn and prices remain at their present level.

Photo of Mr Ralph Assheton Mr Ralph Assheton , Rushcliffe

If the food subsidies were withdrawn, while current prices and margins were paid to producers and distributors, so that retail prices rose by the amount of these subsidies, the effect would be that the cost-of-living index would rise from its present position of 30 per cent. above the level of September, 1939, to 46 per cent. above that level, or, what is the same thing, from 101 per cent. above the level of July, 1914, to 126 per cent. above that level.

Photo of Mr William Craven-Ellis Mr William Craven-Ellis , Southampton

May I ask whether it is the intention of the Government to continue these subsidies indefinitely? Is it their intention to continue this artificial position?

Photo of Mr Ralph Assheton Mr Ralph Assheton , Rushcliffe

I am afraid that is quite another question.

Later

Photo of Mr William Craven-Ellis Mr William Craven-Ellis , Southampton

On a point of Order. May I ask for your guidance, Mr. Speaker, regarding the reply given to my Question No. 60? The Financial Secretary to the Treasury replied to my supplementary question, "That is another question." It was obviously another question, but I maintain that it was an appropriate question and that a reply should have been given.

Photo of Mr Douglas Clifton Brown Mr Douglas Clifton Brown , Hexham

It does not matter what the hon. Member maintains; that was the answer which was given to him. It cannot be changed now.