HC Deb 26 January 1948 vol 446 cc648-50
30. Mr. Odey

asked the Minister of Food why 10,000 tons of carrots have been purchased from Denmark when there is an adequate supply in this country; and whether he consulted the Minister of Agriculture with regard to this purchase.

33. Lieut.-Colonel Geoffrey Clifton-Brown

asked the Minister of Food why he has recently purchased 10,000 tons of carrots from Denmark when the home 1947 crop is ready to be sold and should be sufficient to satisfy the demand for a considerable period.

Mr. Strachey

Home supplies of carrots are much lower this year than normal, and I therefore decided, in agreement with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, to import carrots from Denmark to supplement our supplies of root vegetables. Home producers receive a guaranteed price for all their carrots, and so imports cannot affect their interests.

Mr. Odey

Would the right hon. Gentleman tell the House the price paid to Denmark for these carrots?

Mr. Strachey

No, Sir. We never disclose the price.

Lieut.-Colonel Clifton-Brown

Can the Minister say why he has had to place an embargo on the British producer sending his carrots where he always used to send them?

Mr. Strachey

No such embargo has been imposed, but we must, of course, in guaranteed price schemes of this sort, arrange the loading of supplies at particular times so that they are not all loaded at once. This is done in our own and the producers' interests.

Mr. York

Can the right hon. Gentleman say how it is that we can find money with which to buy carrots from Denmark, and yet cannot find the money with which to buy eggs and bacon?

Mr. Strachey

The reason is because they are much cheaper.

Mr. Turton

If there is a shortage of carrots, why has the right hon. Gentleman given a double profit margin to those selling Danish carrots instead of English carrots?

Mr. Strachey

I am not aware of that suggestion, and, without notice, I cannot give the hon. Gentleman the exact facts.

Sir Waldron Smithers

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, only yesterday.I received a letter from Covent Garden saying that they had had wires asking, "Can you take English carrots?" and that farmers were putting off men because they could not sell their carrots?

Mr. Strachey

The hon. Gentleman does not seem to realise that all carrots in this country can find a market in this Ministry at a guaranteed price. Hon. Members opposite really must not object to our supplementing our supplies of vegetables and other foodstuffs.

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