HC Deb 22 January 1947 vol 432 cc216-7
50 Lieut.-Colonel Bromley-Davenport

asked the Minister of Food (1) from which countries, including countries within the British Commonwealth of Nations, butter is obtained at the present time at prices below the price of Danish butter; and if he will supply figures in this connection;

(2) whether, in connection with the inability of the Danes to continue to supply large quantities of butter and other foodstuffs to this country at the present prices prevailing, due account has been taken of the fact that whereas this country is able to force down the price at which food is obtained from Denmark by employing a system of bulk purchase, Danish imports from Great Britain are not submitted to any similar bulk purchase scheme; and if he will arrange that this consideration is given full weight in further negotiations;

(3) whether he is aware that whereas Britain has only been paying 4.18 kroner a kilo for Danish butter, the U.S.S.R. has been prepared to pay 4.71 kroner and Poland and Switzerland have been prepared to pay up to 6 kroner; and whether, in view of the importance of preserving an ample and regular flow of Danish food to this country, he will take these factors into account in continuing the negotiations.

The Minister of Food (Mr. Strachey)

I am discussing the purchase of dairy products with an official Danish delegation in London. The prices we are paying for butter from other sources of supply are in every case below the Danish price. The figures, per cwt. f.o.b., are: New Zealand, 175s.; Australia, 173s. 6d.; Kenya. 171s; Denmark, 220s.

Air-Commodore Harvey

Is the Minister aware that if he continues this policy of paying low prices generally for foodstuffs in Denmark they will be compelled to purchase finished goods from other countries rather than from here, and is he aware that the Danes are steadily losing respect for this nation?

Mr. Strachey

I have just read out the prices, which show a very wide margin of increase in the Danish prices over those which we are paying elsewhere.

Air-Commodore Harvey

Is the Minister aware that the Danes themselves are having to subsidise butter which they export to this country?