HC Deb 24 March 1943 vol 387 cc1625-6
57. Mr. Wootton-Davies

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he is aware that winter cabbages are being ploughed into the land owing to the impossibility of disposing of them at current prices; and whether immediate steps are to be taken to prevent this waste?

Mr. Mabane

The winter cabbage crop has been exceptionally heavy, and I am aware that growers, as is the usual practice, are ploughing-in such surplus as cannot be sold or used as stock-feed. Demand throughout the country has been amply satisfied and there is no evidence to support the suggestion that the existence of a surplus is due to prices currently ruling rather than to crop conditions.

Mr. Wootton-Davies

While thanking my hon. Friend for his reply, may I ask him whether the demand for all green-stuffs, cabbages in particular, has not been restricted by the high prices which his Department fixed for them, and that that is the reason for the reduced amount bought?

Mr. Mabane

This Question relates to winter cabbages, but it is a fact that the maximum prices fixed by the Department have not been reached in the markets throughout the country and that the prices ruling have been considerably below the maximum prices fixed.

Mr. Holdsworth

Does that not prove that the prices were fixed too high and that people have been held off buying because they saw these prices in the paper and thought that they had to pay them?

Mr. Mabane

No, Sir, the prices in markets throughout the country have been considerably below the maximum prices fixed.

Mr. Walkden

Did not the trade fix the prices for the Ministry?

Mr. Mabane

No, Sir.