HC Deb 27 February 1946 vol 419 cc1923-5
65. Mr. Peter Freeman

asked the Minister of Food what action he is taking to accelerate the importation of French lettuce, cauliflowers, leeks, spinach, cabbage, turnips, walnuts, plums, peaches, apricots, nectarines, chicory, Algerian, Moroccan and Spanish potatoes, Belgian and Bulgarian grapes, Moroccan tomatoes, Dutch carrots, grapes, cauliflower; and onions which are now becoming increasingly available, to augment the limited rations now available in this country

Sir B. Smith

The reply to the first part of the Question is "Yes, Sir." As to the second part of the Question, the allowances for the Women's Services at present exceed those of miners in the case of meat, bacon, preserves, margarine and sugar. The Services ration scales are under review by my Department and the three Services.

Mr. Keeling

Why has this extraordinary anomaly been allowed to go on for so long?

Sir B. Smith

I took it where 1 found it. Since I have been in office, I have achieved cuts in all Service rations, and the matter is now again under review.

Mr. Keeling

Is not the Minister aware that the war finished some time ago?

Following is the statement:

Sir B. Smith

I have sent to my hon. Friend a copy of a Press notice issued yesterday which deals with the important of many of the commodities he mentions. There will be no need to import potatoes, cabbage, spinach or leeks. The question of importing the remainder" of the commodities is either under consideration now or will be considered at the appropriate season.

Mr. Freeman

Will the Minister do everything possible to import the largest amount available, especially when there is a surplus in the countries concerned?

Sir B. Smith

I am doing my best.

Major Lloyd

Does the Minister think it is fair that hon. Members mouths should water as the result of reading such a Question on the Paper?

Mr. George Wallace

If these imports are made, will the Minister ensure that there is no black market in them and that they do not get into the hands of a few people, but that there is a reasonable allocation to all the people of the country?

Sir B. Smith

I always do my best to ensure that.

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