HC Deb 05 March 1947 vol 434 cc466-7
21. Mr. Erroll

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will publish a statement on the contribution of agricultural produce and raw materials made by the Colonies to the United Kingdom during the last 10 years; together with details of any price fixing and marketing arrangements entered into.

Mr. Creech Jones

The details of imports of agricultural produce and raw materials from the Colonial Empire into the United Kingdom in the years 1937 to 1946 are contained in the Trade Returns published by the Board of Trade. I regret that at the moment my statistical staff is too hard-pressed with current work for it to be possible for them to extract from these returns the information desired and to publish it in a separate statement. Practically all Colonial exports of primary products during the war were purchased by His Majesty's Government under contracts or agreement of which the conditions and duration varied from commodity to commodity. I regret the pressure on my staff at present makes difficult the task of compiling the information about price fixing and marketing arrangements and publishing all the documents concerned, but I will consider whether this can be done.

Mr. Erroll

Does the Minister realise that there is considerable feeling about the price fixing arrangements not only in the Colonies but also in England, and will he give this matter a fairly high priority?

Mr. Creech Jones

Yes, Sir, and I am anxious that the House should be put in possession of all the relevant information on this matter.