HC Deb 29 January 1948 vol 446 cc1177-8
15. Colonel Stoddart-Scott

asked the President of the Board of Trade if the Canadian employees of Hield Brothers, Ontario Factory, have subscribed for and packed tinned soup, meat, vegetables, fruit and biscuits, etc., to provide a Christmas dinner for the 1,400 employees of Hield Brothers, Bradford Factory; that his Department have refused to permit this firm to receive this gift, but have suggested that the food should be unpacked, sent in parcels addressed to individuals and re-pooled on arrival; and if he will reconsider this unnecessary dilatory procedure.

Mr. H. Wilson

After consultation with the Ministry of Food Messrs. Hield Bros., were advised that it is contrary to the policy of His Majesty's Government to allow firms or organisations in this country to receive gifts of food in bulk for distribution amongst their members or employees. In collaboration with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Food I am, however, looking into this case and into the general question of licensing in relation to gift food parcels.

Air-Commodore Harvey

Does not the right hon. Gentleman realise that sending food in bulk saves considerable labour and is easier for distribution?

Mr. Wilson

There are difficulties about food coming in large quantities off the ration, as it were. I have said I am not altogether happy about the situation, and I will go into it with my right hon. Friend.

16. Colonel Stoddart-Scott

asked the President of the Board of Trade if it took from 21st August to 23rd December to complete the forms and procedure and answer all the questions of his Department before a gift of 168 lb. of dates from Teheran, which were to have been distributed between the employees of six textile factories in the West Riding of Yorkshire, could be cleared, and that, when all the requirements had been satisfied, the dates were rotten; and if he will take steps to simplify the procedure in order that wholesome gifts of food may be enjoyed.

Mr. H. Wilson

No application for an import licence was made until the 27th October, although the dates arrived in this country on 21st July. Gift parcels to individuals are limited to 22 lb. gross. Normally, bulk imports to firms for distribution to staff are not allowed. As I have already explained, however, I am looking into the whole question of licensing of gift food parcels in collaboration with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Food.

Colonel Stoddart-Scott

Will the Minister look into this case again? I can provide him with correspondence with his Department dating back to last August. Would he take note of the fact that the generous customer of this firm in Teheran who sent these dates has been paying for their storage, and also for watching the dates until they were found to be bad in December?

Mr. Wilson

I should be glad to look at any correspondence the hon. and gallant Member cares to send me. I have said we are looking at the general case.

Major Tufton Beamish

What compensation is being paid to those who should have received the parcels?

Mr. Wilson

Perhaps the hon. and gallant Member will put down a Question.