§ 55. Sir A. FELL
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food if he is aware of the prices at which the arrivals of oranges from Sicily are being retailed; whether the price of 3d. to 8d. for a single orange, which before the War would have sold at from ⅛d. to 2d., is the result of the freights being charged; 727 and, seeing that the profits being made on these fruits put them out of the reach of the working classes, will he say what action he proposes to take?
§ Mr. CLYNES
According to my information, the average price at which Sicilian oranges are being retailed in this country is 2d. each. Apart from freight charges, the cost of production and handling in Sicily is stated to have been considerably increased. No comparison can usefully be made with pre-war prices, as the bulk of the Sicilian crop has in the past been exported to Austria and Germany. In view of the low food value of sweet oranges, the Food Controller as at present advised does not propose to control prices or distribution.
§ Sir A. FELL
Will there be any further arrivals of these oranges to enable people of moderate means to get them—
§ Mr. CLYNES
I cannot under war conditions anticipate the arrivals, but I will endeavour to reply to questions on the subject.
§ Mr. PRINGLE
Why have licences to import oranges been refused when the importers could get over the freight difficulty?