HC Deb 11 September 1942 vol 383 cc511-2
23. Sir Waldron Smithers

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food, why the margins for sale and transit of apples are much greater than those for plums; and, in view of the fact that plums are the more perishable fruit, will he take immediate steps to remedy this situation?

Mr. Mabane

The lower cash margins of plums are calculated to reflect the abundance of the heavy crop and the increased turnover resulting for the distributor. With regard to transport allowances, the maximum for apples is higher than that for plums because the transport of apples requires the use of heavier containers and the allowances are calculated with reference to the net weight of fruit. I have no reason to think that any further revision of these sale margins and transport rates is called for.

Sir W. Smithers

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that these margin regulations have caused the wastage of tons and tons of plums, and in future will he please consult experts before making such ridiculous Orders?

Mr. Mabane

I can say that the distribution of the plum crop has gone, and is going, extraordinarily well. Experts have been watching the position both in Evesham and in Kent, and I can say that with a record crop of this character the number of plums not reaching the market is far smaller than would have been the case in normal times.