Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that, while awaiting some pronouncement from the Sugar Board, manufacturers have imposed on the trade an allocation system which is gravely interfering with the working of the trade, and that some retailers have had their supplies cut by as much as 40 per cent. and cannot possibly handle the Christmas trade until there is some clarification of the position, which cannot happen until the announcement by the Board is made? Will the Minister therefore urge the Board to make some announcement on the subject in a matter of days?
It would not be proper for us to "urge" the Board. It is for the Sugar Board itself to decide when and on what matters within its statutory duties it feels bound to advise my right hon. Friend on any action. We cannot intervene.
In view of the supplementary question of my hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, North (Mr. MacDermot) about supplies of sugar and the effect of speculation on price increases, will the Joint Parliamentary Secretary curry favour with the Chancellor of the Exchequer by announcing that there will be no grounds for increasing the retail price of sugar?
I should like to think out the implications of that. I am not sure what the position is, but the hon. Member will realise the problems involving the Sugar Act, 1956, which we have to observe most carefully.