HC Deb 12 December 1945 vol 417 cc412-3
57. Captain Marsden

asked the Minister of Food under what conditions import licences for the importation of wine from Europe are granted to private individuals.

Sir B. Smith

Import licences are not normally granted to private individuals to import wine from Europe. Exceptions are, however, made in the case of people returning to this country after residence abroad, who are allowed to bring in the reasonable contents of their cellars, and also in the case of persons who purchased wine before the war but were unable to obtain delivery owing to the outbreak of hostilities.

Captain Marsden

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he has considered the cases of wine sent as a free gift? Is the aware that there is no question of freight as they come in men o'war and that where it happens to be slightly over weight there is no other reason for refusing import licences? Will he give that consideration?

Sir B. Smith

I am quite willing to accept these wines subject to the weight limits set out, but I cannot vary the weight limits just for the sake of importing a bottle of wine.

Miss Rathbone

In view of the very large quantity of shipping space taken up by this costly luxury, could not the shipping be better utilised for bringing in necessaries rather than in giving these favours to wealthy individuals?

Sir B. Smith

I replied at some length to the same question by the hon. Lady some weeks ago.