HC Deb 06 December 1944 vol 406 cc508-9
52. Squadron-Leader Sir Gifford Fox

asked the Minister of Food whether during the current year, his department bought any vegetable crops on the ground; if so, whether it has made a profit or a loss; and what aggregate loss has been sustained hitherto during the war in respect of different crops by purchases of this nature.

Colonel Llewellin

I assume that the Question refers to the purchase of growing crops by my Department. During the current year purchases have been made of carrots and cabbages but the resultant profit or loss will not be known until marketing is completed. I am circulating in the OFFICIAL REPORT the aggregate losses or profits on different crops for previous years.

Following is the statement:

The aggregate results of purchasing growing vegetable crops in the previous war years have been approximately:

The loss on the purchase of green vegetables was the result of a special scheme which was undertaken as an insurance against a shortage of green vegetables in the Spring of 1943 with a view to guarding against a serious shortage such as had occurred in the previous year.

The weather conditions, however, in the Winter of 1942–1943 were favourable to production, with the result that supplies in the following Spring were ample and prices, both wholesale and retail, were correspondingly reduced. This experiment has not been repeated in subsequent years. A reference to it appeared in the Comptroller and Auditor-General's Report dated 5th April, 1944, page 14.