The annual increase of 3 per cent. in beer consumption seems to convey more about the price and content of beer, and the consumer satisfaction it provides, than I could say in any statement.
Is the Minister aware that following his reply, I find it extremely difficult to think up a supplementary question? However, is he aware that no fewer than three breweries have announced increases of 1p a pint on beer as from yesterday, following a similar announcement by two other breweries at the beginning of the month about increased beer prices? Does the hon. Gentleman not feel that, in view of the fact that there is no sign of breweries increasing the strength of beer, he should punish them by refusing to accept contributions from them to Tory Party funds until they mend their ways?
The price of beer has been steady for over a year. Recent selective increases have been below 5 per cent. in relation to output as a whole and therefore have been consistent with the C.B.I. initiative. I feel that the last part of the hon. Member's supplementary question was fathered by spite out of envy.
Did we not go into the question of beer during the last Question Time on agricultural matters, and was it not then revealed that the National Board for Prices and Incomes, which was set up by the Labour Government, not only regarded the price of beer as reasonable but thought that it ought to be increased?