§ 73. Mr. WATT
asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office whether his Department are paying the British butchers and hide merchants l0d. per lb. for hides; whether it is paying to South American hide merchants for their hides 18d. per lb., although these latter are branded and are therefore inferior; whether at a recent Prize Court sale in this country it paid a home price of 1s. 3d. a lb. for hides; and, if so, will he say why foreigners should get better prices than home sellers, in view of the fact that a low price for hides-makes dearer price for meat?
§ Mr. FORSTER
The Department does not, as is implied in the question, buy hides from British butchers, but the price at which tanners can buy has been fixed at l0d. per lb. This is considered to be a fair price and is 40 per cent, above the pre-war level. The Department does not buy from South American merchants, but hides from the Argentine have been purchased by tanners at above 18d. per lb. The Department has never purchased hides at a Prize Court sale, but it is understood that tanners have paid 15d. per lb. As regards the last part of the question, the Department cannot control the prices of foreign hides.