There is no fixed retail selling price for wheatmeal, and it is impossible to segregate a part of the flour subsidy as being appropriate to this particular type of flour. Oatmeal is retailed at a maximum price of 6d. per lb. This price will involve a small subsidy, the amount of which has not yet been finally determined.
As wheatmeal appears to retail at something like 2d. per lb., does not this represent a very severe discrimination against one of the natural foods of the country, and as oatmeal is almost entirely home-grown, cannot something be done to reduce this disparity?
The hon. Gentleman must realise that there are 300 lines of wheatmeal and that it is regarded as a speciality flour. It is very difficult, of course, to separate this flour from the ordinary flour which receives a subsidy, but we allow the merchant to charge the retailer the price of national flour plus the difference between the price of the speciality flour and the ordinary flour in 1939.
Figures for January, 1949, are not yet available, but millers' deliveries of oatmeal for the four weeks ended 27th December, 1947, and 25th December, 1948, were 6,000 tons and 9,800 tons, respectively. The answer to the second part of the Question is 30,700 tons and 37,400 tons, respectively.