HC Deb 04 June 1934 vol 290 cc560-1
21. Major CARVER

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is satisfied that the supplies of potatoes available from home sources would make it possible to prohibit entirely the importation of Spanish potatoes after the first week in June, and of all other potatoes after the first week in July; and, if so, what steps he is taking to ensure that such prohibition shall be brought into force on those dates?


asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, in view of the anxiety felt by the potato industry regarding the import situation, he is in a position to make any further announcement as to the regulation of supplies of foreign new potatoes to the United Kingdom market this year?


I am glad to say that an assurance has been received from the Spanish Government that supplies of new potatoes from Spain, including the Canary Islands, during the present season will be limited, in accordance with our proposal, to a quantity not exceeding that sent in 1933. This covers 84 per cent. of total imports from foreign sources. Negotiations are continuing with the Governments of the other two foreign countries whose exports to the United Kingdom have been of significant volume in the past. The limitation of import seasons is not covered by these official proposals, but the Potato Marketing Board have informed me that they have themselves been negotiating an arrangement with shippers in the Channel Islands and in certain foreign countries, and I understand that these negotiations have achieved some success.


asked the Minister of Agriculture whether his Department has granted permission for the cultivation in any parts of England of non-immune varieties of early potatoes; and, if so, whether he has consulted the Secretary of State for Scotland on this matter?


I am sure the House would wish me to congratulate my hon. Friend. The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. As regards the latter part, while close touch is maintained between the Ministry and the Department of Agriculture for Scotland on questions connected with the general administration of the Destructive Insects and Pests Acts, consultation on details of internal administration is not customary. If my hon. Friend will communicate with me on any particular point he has in mind, I shall be happy to furnish him with any further information he may desire.