HC Deb 27 November 1946 vol 430 cc1609-10
56. Sir W. Smithers

asked the Minister of Food if he is aware that the U.S.A. have an exportable wheat surplus of 275,000,000 bushels, and Canada 325,000,000 bushels; that Burma has an exportable surplus of 1,000,000 tons of rice and, in view of these facts, why it is necessary to continue bread rationing.

Dr. Summerskill

No, Sir. The latest official estimates give the exportable surpluses of wheat from the U.S.A. and Canada for the current year as 267 million bushels and 200/231 million bushels respectively. The hon. Member's figures for Burma rice may, I hope, prove correct. But, Burma rice exports do not help us directly to de-ration bread in this country, though they will help the Indian food position. I would remind the hon. Member that the U.K. is only one of many claimants upon these and other supplies, and the abandonment of bread rationing must be dependent upon our ability to secure the amount of wheat necessary to achieve that aim.

Sir W. Smithers

Is not one of the main reasons for the inability to import these food stuffs the deterioration of British credit under this Government, and the fact that we cannot provide foreign exchange? May I have an answer to that please?

Dr. Summerskill

The answer is, "No, Sir."