HC Deb 16 April 1946 vol 421 cc2631-52

9.2 p.m.

Mr. Spence (Aberdeen and Kincardine, Central)

I beg to move, That the Imported Cherries Order(S. R. & O., 1946, No. 472), dated 29th March 1946, a copy of which was presented on 4th April, be annulled.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Major Milner)

I understand that it would be to the general convenience of the House if this Prayer and the following one, dealing with imported green vegetables, were taken together.

Mr. Spence

As it would be convenient for the House to do as you suggest, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, I shall ask your permission, if we go to a Division, to move the second Prayer formally.

My reason for asking for an annulment of this Order is based upon a point of substance, and I hope that hon. Members will not have the impression that this Prayer has been moved in a trivial way. I can produce practical evidence to show that these Orders operate unfairly in many parts of Scotland. They deal with imported cherries and green vegetables, and are the latest two arrivals in a long list of Orders which has preceded them. The Orders regulate the price of distributing and selling by retail vegetables and fruit all over the country. Their operation has, in the main, been perfectly equitable and fair, but in the north of Scotland, and especially in my own constituency, this is not so.

For the purposes of the Orders, the country is divided, roughly, into three parts. My complaint is based on the fact, especially in the case of Order No. 471, that the actual cost of import, plus the cost of porterage and transport, is more than the permitted selling price when the goods get to their destination. It is very natural, therefore. that traders prefer not to deal in goods which only bring them a loss. The more they bring in the more they lose and, therefore, the population in the parts affected are going without that variety in their diet which they ought to be having. In effect, at the moment there is a famine of green vegetables in Aberdeen.

Without going into a mass of detail regarding the Order, I want to trace the result of bringing cauliflowers to Aberdeen from London. The first hand price of cauliflowers on import is 21s. 3d. per cwt., and the permitted selling price for wholesalers in Aberdeen is 27s. 6d. But we find that we have to pay far more than that difference to get the cauliflowers to Aberdeen. Here are the figures. There is a commission agent's charge of 9d. per cwt. and a porterage charge from the docks to King's Cross of 1s. 4d., so that we get the cauliflowers at King's Cross for 23s. 4d. If we take those cauliflowers by passenger train to Aberdeen the cost is 11s. 7d. per cwt., which makes the price of cauliflowers in Aberdeen 34s. 11d. against a permitted selling price of 275. 6d. The net loss per cwt. is 7s. 5d. But one may decide to take the cauliflowers by goods train, and there is an objection to this method, to which I shall refer. The cost by goods train for a two ton lot is 87s. 3d. a ton, which works out at 4s. 4½d. per cwt., and, therefore, with the price of 23s. 4d. at King's Cross, the cost at Aberdeen is 27s. 8½d., making a net loss of 2½d. per cwt.

The actual loss is even greater because the wholesaler on selling cauliflowers in Aberdeen pays at the gross transit rate—that is, the cauliflower and the container—and is only allowed to reclaim at the rate of 3s. 4d. per cwt. on the net weight. The inequality may perhaps best be summed up by saying that a wholesaler in Aberdeen has to sell his green vegetables at the same price as the wholesaler in Durham or Middlesbrough, although he has got double the haul to get them there, and that is the burden of my main complaint in respect of this Order. The position as regards carriage is aggravated by the fact that these vegetables must be moved by train. The time by goods train from London to Aberdeen is six days, and it is not always as short as six days. I have seen 5 cwt. of cauliflowers being shovelled into a dustman's cart, a stinking mass, having just come off the train.

The remedy is simple; it is a slight rise in the retail price. If the present price were 7d. or 7½d. to cover the passenger train cost, the people of the North East would rather pay that price and get a cauliflower, than walk around with 6d. in their pockets and see a Ministry of Food notice in the window saying, "Cauliflowers 6d. each," but he unable to get one. It would be far more satisfying. Hon. Members feel that this matter ought to be settled by negotiation between the trade organisations concerned and the officials of the Ministry of Food. I would like to point out that efforts have repeatedly been made to bring this matter to the attention of Ministry of Food officials. This point with regard to the transit of vegetables to Aberdeen applies not only to imported but to home produced vegetables, but I cannot refer to that because it is not in the Order. There is a shortage of vegetables in Aberdeen. In praying for the annulment of this Order, I want to stress that one of the first duties of the Government is to consider the people. It is wrong that a large section of the community should be denied the variety and balance that they are entitled to have in their diet.

I would like to refer to Order No. 472 which deals with imported cherries. Here the case is not so bad, although it is not as it should be. Aberdeen comes in what we call the No. 2 area, and the maximum carriage allowance for cherries is 11s. 1d. from London to Aberdeen. All imported cherries coming from France and Italy, which are the main importing countries, come to London; therefore, we have to get them from London. Out of the allowance of 11s. 1d. for carriage there are a variety of charges to meet; 11s. 7d. per cwt. is the cost of transport. There are brokerage and porterage charges, which are permitted under Order at the rate of 3s. 6d. Therefore, in the end it is found that there is 11s. 1d. less 3s. 6d., in other words 75. 7d., to meet a rail charge of 11s. 7d. The result is that the wholesaler in Aberdeen has to subsidise the cost of transport out of his profits. In Area 2 in the case of Order No. 472, which deals with cherries, the wholesaler in Lerwick, Shetland, has to sell his cherries at the same price as the wholesaler in Middlesbrough or Durham. That is definitely wrong, and is due to lack of foresight and understanding in the arrangements made by the Ministry. The Shetland Food Control Committee have, in the past, protested most vigorously to the Aberdeen provision dealers on this matter in connection with the shortage of fruit.

While these impractical Orders remain in force the result for the country will be that 500,000 people who live in the Scottish Northern Food Division will not get the ration to which they are entitled. It is on their behalf that I ask for this annulment tonight. I would remind hon. Members that this is not a political matter. Food is a common denominator of all parties. I know I shall receive support from the hon. and learned Member for North Aberdeen (Mr. Hector Hughes), who recently took the Ministry of Food to task in connection with vitamins in Aberdeen, when he drew attention to the position of green vegetables there. I hope the House generally will support this annulment, unless we can get a very great measure of reassurance from the Parliamentary Secretary as to the future intentions of the Ministry on this question.

9.13 p.m.

Lord William Scott (Roxburgh and Selkirk)

I beg to second the Motion.

The hon. Member for Central Aberdeen (Mr. Spence) has very clearly indicated the reasons why he has moved this Motion. Those of us who put our names to it accept the fact that, for the time being, and probably for a considerable period in the future, it will be necessary to have price control for such articles of diet as imported green vegetables and imported cherries. The chief fault we find with these two Orders is that adequate provision has not been made for the considerable expense of long distance train conveyance from London to the distant selling areas in North Britain. The extra cost of rail transport has to be borne by the wholesaler. The difference between the price the wholesaler has to pay to the importer in London and the price he is permitted, by regulation, to charge the retailer in Scotland or elsewhere is regulated, and in many cases is insufficient to meet the extra cost of the rail transport over the greater distance.

The result of these Orders is that during the last few months there has been a surprising scarcity of green vegetables in Scotland. Not only has the quantity of imported green vegetables been negligible, but, as is normal at this time of the year, there is a scarcity of locally grown vegetables, and an almost complete failure for the conveyance and local distribution of green vegetables grown further South in England. The result has been that the people of Scotland have been deprived of green vegetables at that time of the year when they are in greatest need of them. We can anticipate that, for exactly the same reasons, namely, the cost of transport, when the time comes there will be a similar scarcity of imported cherries.

I think it as well to remind the House that in Scotland the soft fruit season occurs at a considerably later period in the year than it does in England. There is no doubt that imported cherries, for those who are able to afford them, will be appreciated even more in Scotland than in many areas in England. In any event, we Scottish Members believe that the people of Scotland are entitled to imported green vegetables and imported cherries every bit as much as the people of England.

We also believe that when Whitehall produces these regulations for the people of Britain they have to pay just as much attention to those living in Scotland as to those living in England and in London. We are entitled to our fair share of the imported luxuries—if you would call them so—or necessities, as the case may he. We are entitled to them, and at the present moment we are not getting them, and unless some alteration is made to the present Regulations we are not likely to get them in the future. It is because of that that my hon. Friends and I, Scots Members, have put our names to this Motion.

9.18 p.m.

Mr. Collins (Taunton)

I do not wish to follow the mover and seconder of this Motion in the remarks that they have made relative to Scotland, but I should like to bring the attention of my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food, to one particular and to one general point. They apply to both these Orders. In both Orders there is reference to wicker containers, in which, it is expected, some of the produce will be imported. In the Order relating to cauliflowers it states that where trimmed cauliflowers are imported in wicker containers they should be sold at prices for trimmed, and that where they are imported in other containers they should he sold at prices for untrimmed. To my mind, the difference between these two prices, whether it be at the import stage or at the first hand stage or any other stage, appears to give a rough estimation of the value of these containers which, it is provided, shall afterwards be sold on the market. I notice that at the import stage the difference between the values varies from 7s. 3d. on 2nd June, to 8s. 3d. at 24th July, and 5s. 6d. at 29th September.

I do not want to labour the point that there cannot be a difference in values in these containers at different periods of the year, but I do want to point out most emphatically that the figures cannot in any way relate to the true values of these containers. They are related to one cwt. of produce. It is not possible to put into the container more than 28 lbs. of any cauliflowers or similar goods. It means there would have to be four bushel containers to take one cwt. of produce. Consider four bushel containers for 7s. 3d. when the price in this country cannot be less than 10s. each, and one can readily imagine what an appalling situation would be created in the basket industry when it is confronted with thousands of these containers being put on to the market at a price possibly a quarter or less than that for which they can be made.

The basket industry consists of some 7,000 workers scattered all over the country from Land's End to John o'Groats. In Scotland we are endeavouring, in the Isle of Skye and elsewhere, to build up Highland industries in willow-craft, and many of these containers can and should be made in the various basket shops throughout this country. There are included amongst the 7,000 workers in the basket industry some 3,000 blind workers. I suggest, and I feel quite sure my hon. Friend will agree, that it could not have been the intention to do anything which would injure these craftsmen and their possibilities of gaining a future livelihood. During the war they played an outstanding part and made an outstanding contribution to the war effort of this country, whether they were blind or disabled in any way or not. This argument applies equally to the cherries Order, although there is no specific difference there on which one can lay one's hand. But the containers have a very high value. They are immediately useful as soon as their contents are sold. They are a standard of package for containing apples or cauliflowers cm any other goods, and it does seem mistaken to price them at present under 10s. It may be argued that having done one journey they will be second hand; but they will be practically as good as new. Therefore, I do ask my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food to take another look at this matter to see whether it is not possible to make some different arrangements relative to containers.

I mentioned that I was going to speak on a general point which covers both Orders. In my view, my right hon. Friend is to be congratulated in having in these two Orders drastically curtailed the margin between the importer and the seller as compared with the margins in other Orders, notably the one relating to tomatoes. The difference for retail prices for cherries is only 60 per cent. as compared with something like 111 per cent. I notice that the system of first hand sales is still continued. In my view this crystallises quite unnecessarily another class of middlemen. It arises out of the fact that there has been a change in the definition of first hand sales between 1941, when it was described as: First sale by OT on behalf of the importer. '' \ The definition in the present Order says: the first sale thereof, after importation into the United Kingdom, by a licensed wholesaler or through the agency of a licensed selling agent. The effect of that is to change what was ordinary commercial practice before the war. Firms imported food and sold it as the wholesaler. or imported food and sold it ex-quay for other people to sell as the wholesaler. Now we have an importer, a first-hand salesman, a wholesaler and then a retailer. Another person has crept in. In the Order relating to tomatoes, my right hon. Friend has stated that 91 out of the 130 firms permitted to import tomatoes are, in addition, to be licensed wholesalers, and therefore qualify as first-hand salesmen and wholesalers, having the opportunity of making not one but three different profits.

It may be properly said by my right hon. Friend that these two Orders have taken good care of that situation by not allowing any separate margin; the first hand sale price is exactly the same as the wholesale price. If, in fact, there is to be no difference between the two prices, with which I thoroughly agree, then why perpetuate the fallacy that there are two different classes of traders when, in fact, they perform what is really one function. Another point is that the importer presumably can sell direct to the wholesaler, to the first hand salesman or wholesaler. In that event it would appear to me that under these two Orders the wholesaler would be getting a greatly enhanced profit. The import price is exactly the same in both cases, but it appears that there is nothing to stop him from getting a greatly enhanced profit. I ask the lion. Lady to make that point quite clear. In my view, although the margins have been most successfully cut and unnecessary profits have been eliminated, we are still perpetuating in these Orders the fallacy of the first hand salesman. Unless some drastic change is made in the Orders relating to wicker containers, a very grave blow, quite unintentionally, will be struck at the basket industry.

9.29 p.m.

Mr. Thornton-Kemsley (Aberdeen and Kincardine, Western)

The House has been greatly interested in the informed contribution of the hon. Member for Taunton (Mr. Collins). If I do not follow him, it is not because I do not agree with almost all that he has said, particularly in regard to the point which he made so well and with such lucidity in regard to containers. I did not intend to intervene in this Debate, although I come from a part of the country not uninterested in this subject. I am tempted to do so, however, by the fact that I feel almost sorry for the Parliamentary Secretary who is in charge of the Government's case and is to reply to these Orders. She looks so charming and so worried that one is almost tempted to come to her rescue. I want to do so. At the end of what I have to say, I want to suggest a way in which, I think, we on this side of the House may help her out of her obvious difficulties. The object of the Ministry of Food, in these Orders, must be to secure equitable distribution of green vegetables and fruit throughout the country. The effect of the Order, as my hon. Friend the Member for Central Aberdeen (Mr. Spence) and the Noble' Lord who seconded the Motion have shown, is not being obtained by the Order itself. In fact, under the Order, it is more profitable for the importer to send green vegetables to places nearer to London than to the North of Scotland, and the people in the North of Scotland are not getting their fair quota of this desirable commodity. Therefore, the whole object of the Ministry of Food is being defeated. The gratitude of 500,000 people in the North of Scotland will go out to my hon. Friend the Member for Central Aberdeen for bringing forward this subject tonight; it is only right that it should be ventilated in the British House of Commons.

I said that I was going to do my best to help the hon. Lady. I am going to do it in this way. We have, of course, no other choice open to us but to pray for the annulment of the Order, but we want to get an assurance from the Parliamentary Secretary, on behalf of the Minister, that she will look at this matter again, bearing in mind the points which have been so forcibly and clearly put by hon. Members on this side of the House. If we could have her assurance that it would be withdrawn and replaced with something which would meet our views, I am quite certain that we would not wish to harass her further.

9.33 p.m.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food (Dr. Edith Summer-skill)

I can assure the hon. Member for Aberdeen and Kincardine, Western (Mr. Thornton-Kemsley) that it requires more than his ability to harass me. The mover of the Prayer was anxious to assure the House that he was not doing so for any trivial reasons. I am quite sure that the House realises that. I think that he has made a substantial point. I am convinced, listening to his presentation of the case, that the ability and capacity which he so obviously possesses indicate that Aberdeen is not short of vitamins. In fact, Scotland, I think, have put their case very well tonight.

Briefly, I would like to explain the purpose of these Orders. The discussion has been a little technical, and I feel that perhaps my Department has been represented as introducing Orders which are unnecessary. It is hoped that during 1946 the importation of a wider variety of fruit and vegetables will be available, and the two Orders which we are discussing bring under direct price control certain vegetables only—broccoli and cauliflowers—and, the only fruit—cherries.

These products have been prohibited since 1940. Having decided to import cherries, it became necessary to introduce a fresh price schedule, as the price schedule in the Order for home produced cherries and cauliflowers was not appropriate. The Order for home produced cherries prescribed the maximum prices chargeable by the grower and those chargeable by the purchasers from him. This classification was ineffective to deal with imported cherries and this also applies to imported green vegetables.

The differentiation, which has been discussed tonight, according to areas, is introduced to coincide with those in the home produced order, with which I think hon. Members are conversant. Imported cherries cannot be distinguished from home grown cherries for sale purposes. Many hon. Members probably do not realise that important point. Though they are imported cherries they cannot be distinguished by the purchaser. Therefore, this new Order deals with imported fruit and it must be related to the home produced. The differentiation of the areas in the Imported Cherries Order has been introduced for that reason, and, of course, in order that there shall be an equitable distribution of fruit and vegetables throughout the country. I think that, so far as the home produced order is concerned, hon. Members who are praying tonight will agree that that equitable distribution has achieved its purpose. The case for imported fruit and vegetables rests entirely on the shortage of supplies and the general desire, now that the war is over, to bring some variety into our diet. The total supplies of fruit in 1945 were considerably less than half the average supplies of the three years before the war. I am sure hon. Members will agree that these Orders are necessary if we are to supplement our present rather meagre rations of fruit.

I am anxious to deal with the other questions that have been raised. In order that the consumers and the traders should be treated equitably we decided to divide the country into three parts as far as the Second Schedule in the Order is concerned. If the hon. Member for Central Aberdeen (Mr. Spence), who moved the Prayer, will forgive me for saying it, there is a part of Scotland which is rather desolate and to which we give a special schedule. Apart from that schedule, we divided the rest of the country into two areas, the northern area and Great Britain. The distribution allowance for the traders in the Northern area is greater than in the Southern. It happens, that the hon. Member for Central Aberdeen represents a constituency which is at the tip of the northern area. He is in a difficult position. He reminds me of a question which was asked in the House some time ago whether the Ministry would divide the country into soft water areas and hard water areas, and that those people living in the hard water areas should get more soap than those who are living in the soft water areas. We always have to say it is impossible to define such areas, because there will always be people living on the boundary who will be dissatisfied. The hon. Member is one of the people who represent a constituency on the boundary of the northern area. The people in the south of the area are not supporting him tonight. They are satisfied.

Sir William Darlinģ (Edinburgh, South)

No: I was not allowed to get in.

Dr. Summerskill

I would not say the hon. Member represented a constituency in the extreme South of the Northern area by any means.

Sir W. Darlinģ

I represent Edinburgh, which is in the South-East part of Scotland.

Dr. Summerskill

Certainly, but if the hon. Member will read his Order carefully he will find there are many constituencies South of Edinburgh in the Northern area.

Sir W. Darlinģ

Is the hon. Lady at broccoli or cherries now?

Dr. Summerskill

There is something common to both Orders. I agree that the hon. Member for Central Aberdeen has a grievance, but he knows that we have tried to meet him and the traders. We have had meeting after meeting to thrash out the matter in order to try and arrive at an arrangement which would be acceptable to him. But the alternative he suggests is one we cannot accept. He said it would be simple to increase the price of cauliflowers. The Ministry of Food is primarily a consumers' Ministry. A very good case has been put up tonight for the trade, and I want to put the case for the consumer. It is unfair to increase the price of cauliflowers to consumers in any part of the country. We believe that there should be a uniform price. Furthermore—and I wonder whether this point has been thought of—if the price of cauliflowers is put up in Aberdeen then cauliflowers from the Lothians will find their way into Aberdeen in order that the trader should have an extra penny. That would be most unfortunate for every area in Scotland. Therefore, while the hon. Member may think that we are not playing fair with Aberdeen we are playing fair with those areas which are supplied with cauliflowers from the Lothians. It is for that reason that we cannot agree to negotiate once more, and that we cannot withdraw this Order.

My hon. Friend the Member for Taunton (Mr. Collins) referred to containers, and said it was impossible to obtain a sufficient supply. I shall bear in mind what he said about the black market in containers, and find out whether there is any possibility of that. My hon. Friend also referred to links in our chain of distribution. I agree that too many middlemen are certainly undesirable, but I would remind him that we have inherited the wartime machinery; that we are using it at the moment. We feel that it is most efficient to continue to do so until the time comes to reorganise our distribution. My lion. Friend also mentioned the price which first hand salesmen and wholesalers received in Area 1, under the Imported Cherries Order, and said he found it difficult to understand. In Area 1 there is only one wholesaler.

Mr. Collins

I think my hon. Friend referred to me as saying something about the black market. I do not remember making any remark of that kind. The industry has not yet been asked to supply containers, nor has it been given any orders, so it would hardly be fair to say that it cannot supply them. It would be most undesirable if thousands of imports were allowed to come in by the backdoor.

Dr. Summerskill

I am sorry if I have hurt my hon. Friend's feelings by saying that he said something about the black market, but I thought he suggested there would be undesirable firms who would be anxious to undercut the market. One tends to associate the black market with people who behave in an anti-social manner of that kind in commerce. I hope I have convinced the House that we have tried to deal equitably not only with the traders, but with the consumers. I assure hon. Members that it is very essential that we should not break faith with the consumers.

9.46 p.m.

Mr. Baldwin (Leominster)

When I entered the House this evening, I was not aware it would be in Order for me to talk about home-grown vegetables, but since the hon. Lady the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food has mentioned them, I would like to say a few words on the subject, and I hope that someone who represents a vegetable district much more than I do may make a contribution to the Debate. I want to point out to the hon. Lady what has happened in my district during the last two seasons. I mention these facts in the hope that something may be done to give a better distribution of vegetables when they happen to be in surplus in a given area. For the last two years, in my area, at a certain period of the growing season, we have ploughed in crops of green peas because we could not get the cost of picking them. I have myself ploughed in 20 acres during the last two years.

Mr. Speaker

The hon. Member will not be in Order if he pursues that matter.

Mr. Baldwin

As the hon. Lady mentioned home-grown vegetables, I thought I would be in Order in my remarks. I have mentioned these points because I think they are important to consumers of this country. Many people have suffered from the bad distribution of vegetables during the past two years, and the result has been that many are not growing all that they could grow this season. They have been bitten twice, and do not want to be bitten again. I ask the hon. Lady to give attention to this matter. If people North of the Border are short of green vegetables, I can assure them that we are in a position to supply them. Since imports are being allowed, I hope steps will be taken to see that those imports are directed to the North of England, where they will be wanted, rather than put on the Southern market, where they will still further depress our trade. In reply to a Question in the House a few days ago, the Minister of Food said that he did not intend to allow the consumers of this country to be stung to the extent of half-crown each for lettuces. The following day I visited Covent Garden to find out what were the facts. The market was rather swamped with imported Dutch lettuces. The Ministry should keep these things in mind when they allow imports of foreign fruit and vegetables. They should see that those imports are directed to that part of the country where they are wanted and not allowed to depress the market here.

9.49 P.m.

Mr. Baker White (Canterbury)

I should be obliged if the Parliamentary Secretary would give a further explanation of the figures in Part 7 of the Imported Green Vegetables Order. They refer to the period up to and including 2nd June, from 3rd June to 24th July, and from 25th July to 29th September, 1946. Nothing is said about maximum prices after the end of September, 1946. I raise the point because it seems to me that, as from that date, any sort of protection for the home grower will be removed. I am strengthened in that view by a letter from an association of growers in East Kent, in which they say that, although some measure of protection has been given in the case of cauliflowers and broccoli, this covers only the next two months, and that there will be no protection for the late autumn crop, as this will not be ready for sale until January, 1947. It seems that there will be no protection to the home grower after the end of September, 1946. I hope we can be given further explanation on that point and some sort of assurance that in spite of the need for imports there will be continual protection for the grower at home who has stimulated his production in response to the wartime requests of the Ministry of Agriculture.

9.51 p.m.

Mr. Murray (Spennymoor)

There is one point I should like to make. When I live in an area I do not like to be left out when any goods are going. What I am concerned about is whether the Minister is satisfied in her own mind that in the Northern part of Scotland, as has been stated, wholesalers cannot purchase the imported cauliflowers to sell retail at a profit. Is the hon. Lady satisfied that the North of Scotland shall continue to obtain cauliflowers under those conditions, or how does she propose to meet the situation? She definitely said that the Ministry of Food was a consumers' council. If that is so, what is the point of giving supplies to these particular people if the wholesalers are not going to stand the loss mentioned by the hon. Member opposite?

9.52 p.m.

Mr. Spence

May I express my very grave disappointment with the speech made by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food? I had hoped that we should receive some consideration If the claims of the 500,000 people in the North Eastern Food Division of Scotland. Instead, the Minister told us how equitable the distribution was and described the Ministry of Food as a consumers' Ministry. All I can say is that we do not get any green vegetables to consume in Aberdeen, and I cannot see why it should be impossible for the Ministry of Food to devise ways and means of seeing that we get these imported vegetables at a time when we need them. This need not interfere with the home-grown crop because we need the imported vegetables when they are not available from our own farms.

I express very great disappointment that I should have had such a harsh reply—for that is what it amounted to for the North of Scotland. I think the hon. Lady created the impression that I was in just a little corner of Scotland. I am not; I am right in the middle of the North-East of Scotland with cities with large populations who deserve the variety of diverse articles of diet which they are unable to buy because of these rigid regulations. It is this inelastic officialdom which is holding up the imports of these foodstuffs for Scotland today. The Orders to which my Prayers relate are very wide; they are symptomatic of all the Orders which are holding up the solution of the problem. I do not know whether hon. Members saw only last week in the newspapers that 20,000 tons of broccoli were brought out of Cornwall by 202 special trains, not tine of which went to Scotland, the fault being with the Ministry of Food. I take a very dim view of the reassurance given by the hon. Lady.

Dr. Summerskill

With your permission, Mr. Speaker, I should like to deal with the last point raised by the hon. Member for Central Aberdeen (Mr. Spence). He says that none of the trains he mentioned went to Scotland, and he

is quite right. I made inquiries and I discovered that not one train went even as far as Edinburgh—where it is certainly possible to make a profit out of these cauliflowers—because the wholesalers there did not ask for cauliflowers and, therefore., the stationmaster said that a special train was not warranted.

Question put. That the Order in Council, dated 20th March, 1946, amending Regulation 56A of the Defence (General) Regulations, 1939, and the Defence (Recovery of Fines) Regulations, 1942 (S.R. & O., 1946, No. 371), a copy of which was presented on 25th March, be annulled.

The House divided: Ayes, 60; Noes, 250.

Division No. 131.] AYES. [9.55 p.m.
Agnew, Cmdr. P. G. Grimston, R. V. Noble, Comdr. A H. P
Baldwin, A. E. Hope, Lord J. Prescott, Stanley
Barlow, Sir J. Hurd, A. Raikes, H. V.
Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C. (Wells) Hutchison, Lt-Cm. Clark (E'b'rgh W.) Sanderson, Sir F.
Bossom, A. C. Jennings, R. Scott, Lord W.
Boyd-Carpenter, J. A. Keeling, E. H. Smith, E. P. (Ashford)
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Kerr, Sir J. Graham Spearman, A C. M.
Conant, Maj. R. J. E. Lancaster, Col. C. G. Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
Cooper-Key, E. M. Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H Strauss, H. G. (Com. Eng. Univ'sities)
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E Lennox-Boyd, A. T. Studholme, H. G.
Crowder Capt. J. F. E. Lloyd, Maj. Guy (Renfrew, E.) Sutcliffe, H.
Cuthbert, W. N. Lucas-Tooth, Sir H. Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.
Darling, Sir W. Y. McKie, J. H. (Galloway) Wakefield, Sir W. W.
Davidson, Viscountess Maitland, Comdr. J. W. Walker-Smith, D.
Drayson, Capt. G. B. Marshall, D. (Bodmin) Wheatley, Colonel M. J.
Drewe, C. Maude, J. C. White, J. B. (Canterbury)
Eccles, D. M. Medlicott, Brig. F. Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Fletcher, W (Bury) Mellor, Sir J. York, C.
Foster, J. G. (Northwich) Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury)
Gammans, Capt. L. D. Neven-Spence, Sir B TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Gomme-Duncan, Col. A. G. Nicholson, G. Mr. C S. Taylor and
Mr. Spence.
Adams, W. T (Hammersmith, South) Brown, T J. (Ince) Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)
Adamson, Mrs. J. L. Bruce, Maj. D. W T Dumpleton, C. W
Allen, A. C. (Bosworth) Buchanan, G Durbin, E F. M
Anderson, A. (Motherwell) Burden, T. W Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C
Anderson, F. (Whitehaven) Butler, H. W. (Hackney, S.) Edwards, N. (Caerphilly)
Anderson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Scot. Univ.) Callaghan, James Evans, E. (Lowestoft)
Attewell, H. C. Castle, Mrs. B. A. Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)
Austin, H. L. Champion, A. J. Ewart, R.
Awbery, S. S. Chetwynd, Capt. G. R Fairhurst, F.
Ayles, W. H Clitherow, Dr. R. Farthing, W. J.
Ayrton Gould, Mrs. B Cobb, F. A. Foster, W. (Wigan)
Bacon, Miss A. Cocks, F. S. Fraser, T (Hamilton)
Baird, Capt. J Coldriek, W. Freeman, Maj. J. (Watford)
Balfour, A. Collindridge, F Freeman, Peter (Newport)
Barstow, P. G. Colman, Miss G M. Gaitskell, H. T. N
Barton, C. Cook, T. F. Gallachor, W.
Bechervaise, A. E. Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well. N.W.) Ganley, Mrs. C. S.
Belcher, J. W. Corvedale, Viscount George, Maj. Rt. Hn. G Lloyd (P'ke)
Benson, G. Daggar, G. George, Lady M Lloyd (Anglesey)
Beswick, Fit.-Lieut. F. Daines, P. Gibson, C. W
Bing, Capt. G. H. C. Dolton, Rt. Hon. H. Gilzean, A.
Binns, J. Davies, Edward (Burslem) Granville, J. E. (Consett)
Blenkinsop, Capt. A. Davies, Ernest (Enfield) Gooch, E. G.
Blyton, W. R. Davies, Harold (Leek) Goodrich, H. E
Boardman, H. Davies, Haydn (St. Pancres, S.W.) Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood)
Bottomley, A. G. Deer, G. Grenfell, D. R.
Bowden, Fig.-Offr. H. W. de Freitas, Geoffrey Grey, C. F.
Bowen, R Delargy, Captain H J. Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)
Bowles, F G. (Nuneaton) Diamond, J Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly)
Braddock. Mrs. E. M. (L'pl, Exch'ge) Dobbie, W. Griffiths, Capt. W. D. (Moss Side)
Braddock, T. (Mitcham) Dodds, N. N Guy, W. H.
Brook, D. (Halifax) Donovan, T Hale, Leslie
Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell) Douglas, F. C. R. Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R
Brown, George (Belper) Driberg, T. E. N. Hannan, W. (Maryhill)
Hardy, E. A. Mayhew, C. P. Smith, Ellis (Stoke)
Hastings, Dr. Somerville Medland, H. M. Smith, H. N. (Nottingham, S.)
Haworth, J. Messer, F. Smith. T (Normanton)
Henderson, A. (Kingswinford) Mikardo, Ian Snow Capt. J. W.
Herbison, Miss M Millington, Wing-Comdr. E. R. Stamford. W
Hobson, C. R. Mitchison, Maj. G. R. Stewart, Capt. Michael (Fulham, E.)
Holman, P. Monslow, W. Stubbs, A. E.
Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth) Moody, A. S Summerskill, Dr. Edith
Horabin, T L. Morley, R. Symonds, Maj. A. L.
House, G. Morris, Lt.-Col. H. (Sheffield, C.) Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)
Hoy, J. Morris, P (Swansea, W) Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Hubbard. I Mort, D. L. Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)
Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.) Murray, J. D. Thomas, Ivor (Keighley)
Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayr) Nally, W. Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)
Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Neal, H. (Claycross) Thomas, John R. (Dover)
Hughes, Lt. H. D. (W'lverh'pton, W.) Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford) Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Ed'b'gh, E.)
Hynd, H (Hackney, C.) Noel-Buxton, Lady Thorneycroft, H. (Clayton)
Irving, W. J. O'Brien, T. Tiffany, S.
Isaacs, Rt Hon. G. A. Oldfield, W. H. Timmons, J.
Jeger, G. (Winchester) Oliver, G. H. Titterington, M. F.
Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S.E.) Orbach, M. Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G.
Jones, D. T. (Hartlepools) Paling, Rt. Hon Wilfred (Wentworth) Usborne, Henry
Jones, J. H. (Bolton) Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury) Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)
Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin) Palmer, A. M. F. Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.)
Kenyon, C. Pargiter, G. A. Warbey, W. N.
King, E. M. Peart, Capt. T. F. Watson, W. M.
Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. E. Perrins, W. Wells, W. T. (Walsall)
Kinley, J. Popplewell, E. White, C. F. (Derbyshire, W.)
Kirkwood, D. Porter, E. (Warrington) White, H. (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Lavers, S. Porter, G. (Leeds.) Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Lee, F. (Hulme) Pritt, D. N. Wigg, Col. G. E.
Lee, Miss J. (Cannock) Proctor, W. T. Wilkes, Maj. L.
Leonard, W. Pursey Cmdr. H Wilkins, W. A.
Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton) Ranger, J. Williams, D. J. (Neath)
Lewis, J. (Bolton) Rankin, J Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)
Lewis, T. (Southampton) Reeves, J. Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)
Lipton, Lt.-Col. M Reid, T. (Swindon) Williams, W. R. (Heston)
Logan, D. G. Rhodes, H. Williamson, T.
Longden, F. Ridealgh, Mrs. M. Willis, E
McAdam, W. Robertson, J. J. (Berwick) Wills, Mrs. E. A.
McEntee, V. La T. Sargood, R. Wise, Major F. J.
McKay, J. (Wallsend) Scollan, T. Woodburn, A.
Mackay, R. W. G. (Hull, N.W.) Shackleton, Wing-Cdr. E. A. A. Woods, G. S
Maclean, N. (Govan) Sharp, Lt.-Col. G. M. Yates, V. F.
McLeavy, F. Shawcross, C. N. (Widnes) Young, Sir R. (Newton)
MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles) Shurmer, P. Younger, Hon. K. G.
Mann, Mrs. J. Silverman, J. (Erdington) Zilliacus, K.
Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping) Simmons, G. J.
Marquand, H. A. Skinnard, F. W. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Marshall, F. (Brightside) Smith, Rt. Hon. Sir B. (Rotherhithe) Mr. Joseph Henderson and
Mathers, G. Smith, Capt. C. (Colchester) Mr. Pearson.
Mr. Spence

I beg to move, That the Imported Green Vegetables Order (S.R. & O., 1946. No. 471) dated 29th March, 1946, a copy of which was presented on 4th April be annulled.

Lord William Scott (Roxburgh and Selkirk)

I beg to second the Motion.

Question put.

The House divided: Ayes, 63, Noes, 249.

Division No. 132.] AYES. [10.8 p.m.
Agnew, Cmdr. P. G. Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.
Baldwin A. E Hope, Lord J. Prescott, Stanley
Barlow, Sir J. Hurd, A. Raikes, H. V.
Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C. (Wells) Hutchison, Lt.-Cm. Clark (E'b'rgh W.) Sanderson, Sir F.
Bossom, A C. Jennings, R. Scott, Lord W.
Boyd-Carpenter, J. A. Keeling, E. H. Smith, E. P. (Ashford)
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Kerr, Sir J. Graham Spearman, A. C. M.
Conant, Maj. R. J. E. Lancaster, Col. C. G. Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
Cooper-Key, E. M. Law, Rt. Hon. R. K. Strauss, H. G. (Com. Eng. Univ'sities)
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E Legge-Bourke, Mai. E. A. H. Studholme, H. G.
Crowder, Capt. J. F. E. Lennox-Boyd, A. T. Sutcliffe, H.
Cuthbert, W. N. Lloyd, Maj. Guy (Renfrew, E.) Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.
Darling, Sir W. Y. Lucas-Tooth, Sir H. Wakefield, Sir W. W.
Davidson, Viscountess McKie, J. H. (Galloway) Walker-Smith, D.
Drayson, Capt. G. B. Maitland, Comdr. J. W Wheatley, Colonel M. J.
Drewe, C. Marshall, D. (Bodmin) White, J. B. (Canterbury)
Eccles, D. M. Maude, J. C. Willink, Rt. Hon. H. U.
Fletcher, W. (Bury) Medlicott, Brig. F. Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Foster, J. G. (Northwich) Mellor, Sir J. York, C
Gammans, Capt. L. D. Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury)
Gomme-Duncan, Col. A. G. Neven-Spence, Major Sir B. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Grimston, R. V. Nicholson, G. Mr. C. S. Taylor and
Mr. Spence.
Adams, W. T (Hammersmith, South) Ganley, Mrs. C. S. Neal, H. (Claycross)
Adamson, Mrs. J L George, Lady M. Lloyd (Anglesey) Nicholls, H R. (Stratford)
Allen, A. C. (Bosworth) Gibson, C. W. Noel-Buxton, Lady
Anderson, A. (Motherwell) Gilzean, A. O'Brien, T.
Anderson, F. (Whitehaven) Glanville, J. E. (Consett) Oldfield, W. H.
Attewell, H. C. Gooch, E. G. Oliver, G. H
Austin, H. L. Goodrich, H. E. Orbach, M.
Awbery, S. S. Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood) Paling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Wentworth)
Ayles, W. H. Grenfell, D. R. Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)
Ayrton Gould, Mrs. B. Grey, C. F. Palmer, A. M. F.
Bacon, Miss A. Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley) Pargiter, G. A.
Baird, Capt. J. Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly) Peart, Capt. T. F
Balfour, A. Griffiths, Capt. W. D. (Moss Side) Perrins, W.
Barstow, P. G Guy, W. H Popplewell, E.
Barton, C. Haire, Flt.-Lieut. J. (Wycombe) Porter, E. (Warrington)
Bechervaise, A. E Hale, Leslie Porter, G. (Leeds)
Belcher, J. W. Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R. Pritt, D. N
Benson, G Hannan, W. (Maryhill) Proctor, W. T.
Beswick, Flt.-Lieut. F. Hardy, E. A. Pursey, Cmdr. H.
Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale) Hastings, Dr. Somerville Ranger, J
Bing, Capt. G. H. C. Haworth, J. Rankin, J.
Binns, J. Henderson, A. (Kingswinford) Reeves, J.
Blenkinsop, Capt. A. Herbison, Miss M. Reid, T (Swindon)
Blyton, W. R. Hobson. C. R. Rhodes, H
Boardman, H. Holman, P. Ridealgh, Mrs. M
Bottomley, A. G. Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth) Sargood, R.
Bowden, Flg.-Offr. H. W. Horabin, T. L. Scollan T
Bowen, R. House, G. Shackleton, Wing-Cdr. E. A. A.
Bowles, F. G. (Nuneaton) Hoy, J. Sharp, Lt.-Col. G. M.
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'p'l, Exch'ge) Hubbard, T. Shawcross, C. N. (Widnes)
Braddock, T. (Mitcham) Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.) Shurmer, P.
Brook, D. (Halifax) Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayr) Silverman, J. (Erdington)
Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell) Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Simmons, C. J.
Brown, George (Belper) Hughes, Lt. H. D. (W'lverh'pton, W.) Skinnard, F. W
Brown, T J. (Ince) Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.) Smith, Rt. Hon. Sir B. (Rotherhithe)
Bruce, Maj. D. W. T. Irving, W. J. Smith, Capt. C. (Colchester)
Buchanan, G Jeger, Capt. G. (Winchester) Smith, Ellis (Stoke)
Burden, T. W. Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S.E.) Smith, H. N. (Nottingham, S.)
Butler, H. W. (Hackney, S.) Jones, D. T. (Hartlepools) Smith, T. (Normanton)
Callaghan, James Jones, J. H. (Bolton) Snow, Capt. J. W
Castle, Mrs. B. A. Jones, P. Asterley, (Hitchin) Stamfurd, W.
Champion, A. J. Keenan, W. Stewart, Capt. Michael (Fulham, E.)
Chetwynd, Capt. G. R. Kenyon, C. Stubbs, A. E.
Clitherow, Dr. R. King, E. M. Summerskill, Dr. Edith
Cobb, F. A. Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. E. Symonds, Maj. A. L.
Cocks, F. S. Kinley, J. Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)
Coldrick, W. Kirkwood, D. Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Collindridge, F. Lavers, S. Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)
Colman, Miss G. M. Lee, F. (Hulmo) Thomas, Ivor (Keighley)
Cook, T. F. Lee, Miss J. (Cannock) Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)
Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well, N.W.) Leonard, W. Thomas, John R, (Dover)
Ccrvedale, Visoount Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton) Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Ed'b'gh, E.)
Daggar, G. Lewis, J. (Bolton) Thorneycroft, H.
Daines, P. Lewis, T. (Southampton) Tiffany, S.
Dalton, Rt. Hon. H. Lipton, Lt.-Col. M. Titterington, M. F.
Davies, Edward (Burslem) Logan, D. G. Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G.
Davies, Ernest (Enfield) Longden, F. Usborne, Henry
Davies Harold (Leek) McAdam, W. Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)
Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S.W.) McEntee, V. La T. Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.)
Deer, G. McKay, J. (Wallsend) Warbey, W. N.
de Freitas, Geoffrey Mackay, R. W. G. (Hull, N.W.) Watson, W. M.
Delarey, Captain H. J. Maclean, N. (Govan) Wells, W. T. (Walsall)
Diamond, J. McLeavy, F. White, C. F. (Derbyshire, W.)
Dobbie, W. MacMillan, M. K. White, H. (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Dodds, N. N. Mann, Mrs. J. Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Donovan, T. Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping) Wigg, Col. G. E.
Douglas, F- C. R. Marquand, H. A. Wilkes, Maj. L.
Driberg, T. E. N. Marshall, F. (Brightside) Wilkins, W. A.
Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich) Mathers, G. Williams, D. J. (Nealh)
Dumpleton, C. W. Mayhew, C. P. Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)
Durbin E. F. M. Medland, H. M. Williams, W. R. (Heston)
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. Messer, F. Williamson, T.
Edwards, N. (Caerphilly) Middleton, Mrs. L. Willis, E.
Evans, E (Lowestoft) Mikardo, Ian Wills, Mrs. E. A.
Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury) Millington, Wing-Comdr. E. R. Wise, Major F. J.
Ewart R. Mi'chison, Maj. G. R. Woodburn, A.
Fairhurst, F. Monslow, W. Woods, G. S
Farthing, W. J. Moody, A. S. Yates, V. F.
Foster, W. (Wigan) Morley, R. Young, Sir R. (Newton)
Fraser, T. (Hamilton) Morris, Lt.-Col. H. (Sheffield, C.) Younger, Hon. K. G
Freeman, Maj. J. (Watford) Morris, P. (Swansea, W.) Zilliacus, K.
Freeman, Peter (Newport) Mort, D. L.
Gaitskell, H. T. N. Murray, J. D. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Gallacher, W. Nally, W Mr. Joseph Henderson and
Mr. Pearson.

Question put, and agreed to.