HC Deb 17 June 1918 vol 107 c17

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food if he is aware that there is a colony of small fruit growers in East Sussex who grow practically no other fruit except a certain class of dessert gooseberries, and who have put all their money into its cultivation, which costs about £30 to £40 per acre, and as the result of the recent Gooseberry Order, which fixes the price at £27 per ton, these men will suffer financial loss and in some cases ruin; and will he see his way to reconsider the matter, so that this particular class of fruit, grown for a particular market, will not come within the Order?


I am aware that certain varieties of gooseberries are grown in East Sussex primarily for dessert purposes. They can, however, be used for the manufacture of jam, and it is believed that the operation of the maximum price of £27 per ton will involve no serious hardship on this class of fruit grower. I regret that I cannot see my way to exempt this particular class of fruit from the provisions of the Order, in view of the absolute necessity of earmarking all commercially-grown soft fruit for jam manufacture.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the prices for fruit which were fixed by the Ministry are threatening with ruin the fruit-growing and jam-making industry in the county of Essex particularly, and will he reconsider the prices which the Department has fixed in view of its policy of making as much fruit into jam for conservation as possible?


I shall be glad, of course, to have information in any particular case, and consider it. The price this year has been fixed at a level considerably higher than last year, and has been fixed under the advice of those who are acquainted with the business.

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