Thursday, 26 July 1973
Dáil Eireann Debate
Mr. Lemass: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce the steps he proposes to take to have excessive  increases on the price of spirits, following the Budget increase of 3p per glass, withdrawn.
Mr. Lemass: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he is aware that certain public houses have increased the price of whiskey and stout in excess of the Budget provisions; and the steps he proposes to take in the matter.
There have been excessive increases in drink prices in various areas throughout the country following the increases sanctioned by the Budget. In all cases efforts are being made to secure the necessary price reductions on a voluntary basis. If these efforts fail, I will make orders fixing maximum prices for drink in the areas concerned.
Mr. Cunningham: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will indicate in respect of the three months ended 30th June, 1973, the items under each of the following headings for which he sanctioned increased prices and the amount of each such increase: (a) foodstuffs, (b) household goods and (c) other commodities.
Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Keating): Particulars of all price increases recommended to me are available from the published monthly reports of the National Prices Commission, which are in the Oireachtas Library and which are also circulated to each Deputy. On the days on which the monthly reports of the Commission for April, May and June, 1973, were published, I indicated in a Press statement that, with the exception of increases in CIE rates and fares, I had accepted the Commission's recommendations for price increases for the firms concerned and that I would raise no objection to the implementation of these increases.
Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Keating): The number of products used in the building construction industry is so great that it would be impractical to compile a comprehensive list identifying those which are not controlled in price. Generally, the position is that my sanction is not required for price increases designed to compensate for increases in landed costs of imported products but, as I informed the Deputy on 12th July, 1973, importers may not now increase their profit margins, in cash terms, above the actual cash margins obtained on 23rd June, 1973.
Mr. White: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he is aware of the mark-up from manufacturer to consumer on cornflakes; and if he considers it satisfactory that the wholesaler and retailer have to work within a 4½ per cent profit margin.
Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Keating): As a result of representations made to me by interests concerned, I have amended the Maximum Prices (Household Goods) Order, 1973, so as to fix, inter alia, revised maximum prices for cornflakes.
Mr. Lalor: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce the steps, if any, which he is taking to ensure that meat prices to the consumer are lowered in line with the drop in cattle, sheep and pig prices.
Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Keating): The retail prices of beef, mutton and bacon are  kept under constant review by the National Prices Commission, who have been asked to report to me, with their recommendations for dealing with the situation, if they find evidence that downward trends in livestock prices are not reflected in the retail prices of meat.
Mr. Lalor: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will indicate the outcome of the recent meeting which he had with the representatives of the retail trade regarding alterations in the fixed maximum prices on certain commodities.
Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Keating): As a result of the meeting referred to by the Deputy and of other representations made to me by various interests the maximum permitted prices of a number of commodities covered by the Maximum Prices (Household Goods) Order, 1973 are being increased, mostly to take account of increases recommended by the National Prices Commission subsequent to the signing of the order.
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