HC Deb 26 November 1947 vol 444 c1992
51. Mr. Joynson-Hicks

asked the Minister of Food how many pints of port wine were bought, and at what cost, by this country from Portugal in the first nine months of 1939 and 1947. respectively.

Mr. Strachey

Some 3 million gallons of wine in cask valued at £890,000 were imported from Portugal in the first nine months of 1939. The comparable figures for the first nine months of 1947 are 2 million gallons, valued at £1,576,000. Nearly all was port wine.

Mr. Joynson-Hicks

In view of the drying up of the stores of this particular commodity during the war years, does the right hon. Gentleman consider that this importation was sufficient for the needs of the public?

Mr. Strachey

We should like to have more port, but as the hon. Member will see, it is a very expensive commodity at the moment.

Mr. Godfrey Nicholson

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that most of this trade in Portugal is in British hands?

Mr. Strachey

That does not mean that we do not have to pay high prices for it.

Mr. James Hudson

Is my right hon. Friend aware that large amounts of fruit could have been obtained in Portugal? Could not shipping space and money have been used for this rather than the wine?