HC Deb 30 May 1945 vol 411 c217
55. Sir A. Beit

asked the Minister of Food what steps he is taking, in view of the reduction of certain rationed foodstuffs, to resume or increase the import of West Indies bananas, Empire citrus and deciduous fruit, and feeding stuffs for poultry and livestock in the United Kingdom.

Colonel Llewellin

Arrangements have already been made to import the maximum quantities of Empire citrus fruit and feeding stuffs for which shipping space can be made available. We shall also import some apples, but I do not anticipate that freight can be spared this year for other deciduous fruit, whilst bananas require specially refrigerated vessels, as well as ventilated railway vehicles, neither of which can at present be spared for this traffic.

Sir A. Beit

Does not meat require specially refrigerated vessels, and will not the reduction in the meat ration release a certain number of these vessels? Cannot they be used for carrying bananas?

Colonel Llewellin

Banana vessels are very useful for bringing in bacon, as well as bananas. [Interruption.] Some of it is coming in, but not as much as I would have liked. The main vessels in which we shall probably have spare space are the other refrigerated vessels. I hope to bring considerably more oranges in those vessels.

Mr. Evelyn Walkden

Can the Minister give any information about the millions of pounds of apples in Queensland, Australia, which have been in reserve for us for a long time, and have not yet reached us?

Colonel Llewellin

Australia is a long way away, and it is an extravagant place to bring apples from, from the point of view of shipping.

Mr. Walkden

But we used to be able to sell them here at 5d. a pound, which is less than the price of apples grown in this country to-day.