§ Mr. Kilfedder
asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if he will set up an inquiry into the prices being charged by brewers, public houses, hotels and other places licensed to sell alcohol in Northern Ireland; what has been the yearly increase in prices for each category of drink in the past 10 years; and what have been the margins of profit of the brewers and distillers.
§ Mr. Maclennan
The Price Commission was asked last February to examine and report on the prices and margins in the manufacture and distribution in the United Kingdom of beer which is sold by retail for consumption or licensed. Its report, which is expected very shortly, should cover recent trends in prices and profit margins although it is for the Price Commission to determine the extent to which it can supply information separately for the different parts of the United Kingdom. Until we have received this report we shall not be in a position to decide what further action is necessary, but I should be interested to have details of any particular cause of complaint. I regret that the detailed figures requested for the216W
ducer guarantee arrangements and can only be arbitrarily assessed at a particular moment. With these major reservations, the retail equivalent of the subsidy changes over the last year may be expressed as follows:
yearly increases in prices and profit margins are not readily available.