HC Deb 04 February 1915 vol 69 cc128-9
31. Mr. TOUCHE

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department: when it is anticipated that the Government stocks of sugar will be exhausted; is he aware that manufacturers are embarrassed by the uncertainty as to future purchases, and that they can now purchase forward at substantially below the rates fixed for this country if the prohibition is to be removed; and can he indicate the course to be followed, for the guidance of British manufacturers, bearing in view the disadvantages of uncertainty?


It would be premature to state now when the stocks of sugar held by the Royal Commission will be exhausted, but adequate notice will be given to prevent as far as possible any embarrassment to manufacturers. The importation of sugar was prohibited with the object of preventing the sale of enemy sugar to this country or to neutral countries, who might use it to replace sugar bought for the United Kingdom, an object in which I understand the manufacturers are in full sympathy with the Government. The prohibition cannot be removed so long as its removal would be of great benefit to the enemy.


Is it the case that American sugar is still being prohibited for sale in this country, and, if so, why?


Yes, the prohibition is general and includes all sugar. If American sugar were sent here it would be replaced in America by enemy sugar. My hon. Friend is doubtful on the point, but I have documentary proof of it.


Has my right hon. Friend considered whether sugar might not be imported from our own Colonies and from other places where it is impossible for German or Austrian sugar to replace it?


The amount would be extremely small in any circumstances. I will discuss the question with my right hon. Friend and show him the figures.