HC Deb 21 November 1945 vol 416 cc433-4
58 and 59. Mr. Watkins

asked the Minister of Food (1) why he will not grant trading licences to importers of Canary Island tomatoes, with a view to solving the existing deadlock in the buying and disposal of these tomatoes, which is preventing promised supplies from reaching this country;

(2) whether he is aware that importers are willing to buy Canary Island tomatoes on the Spanish authorities' terms, but unwilling to agree to the proposals of the wholesale trade obliging importers to sell all tomatoes through a monopoly of wholesalers who will take no risk; and what steps he proposes to end this position and fulfil his undertaking to supply tomatoes this winter.

Sir B. Smith

In deciding whether to grant licences to would-be importers of Canary Island tomatoes, I am advised by a committee of the trade. The great majority of the trade are of opinion that tomatoes should not be purchased on the terms hitherto offered, and I do not share the view of my hon. Friend that the present deadlock could be satisfactorily solved by the grant of trading licences to a small number of importers who are willing to operate on these terms.

Mr. Collins

Is my right hon. Friend aware that under the present arrangements the importer who is also a wholesaler makes a gross profit of £250 per 1,000 boxes of tomatoes, whereas firms who are only allowed to import can only sell at cost and must also bear any losses due to wastage, and will he reconsider the matter?