27 JANUARY 1950, Page 18

The Refining of Sugar

SIR,—My concern throughout has been with sugar which is refined in this country, and I think it will be agreed that unrefined sugar imported for consumption in that form is irrelevant to this issue. I would, how- ever, like to know what proportion of this sugar is produced by Caroni, Ltd., and the British West Indies Sugar Co., Tate and Lyle's principal Jamaican subsidiaries, which produced between them 101,500 tons of sugar in 1948.

As far as refined sugar alone is concerned, Mr. Runge's figures should thus be amended to read: Tate and Lyle 60 per cent., British Sugar Cor- poration 28 per cent_ others 12 per cent. "Others" is here a euphemism for the following six companies: John Walker and Co. Ltd., MacFie and Sons Ltd., Glebe Sugar Refining Co. Ltd., Westburn Sugar Refineries Ltd., Sankey Sugar Co. Ltd. and Martineaus Ltd. I feel it most disingenuous of Mr. Runge not to have mentioned that the first three firms are in fact subsidiaries of Tate and Lyle, and account for about 7 per cent, of the output of refined sugar. Thus this firm are in fact responsible for 67 per cent. of output and control over 80 per cent, of refining capacity. It is strange that Mr. Runge should attempt to prove that Tate and Lyle is not monopolistic by setting out the obstacles it has encountered to yet further expansion.

It is, of course, true that the British Sugar Corporation also produces refined sugar, but Mr. Runge omits to mention that Tate and Lyle have large holdings, and, I believe, one director, in this concern, and that, largely because of pressure brought by his firm, sugar is refined only at twelve of the Corporation's eighteen factories.—Yours faithfully,