HC Deb 03 March 1948 vol 448 cc388-9
54. Mr. Baldwin

asked the Minister of Food what are the terms of the agreement recently negotiated with Holland; what is the value of the goods to be exchanged; and in particular what will be the value of the agricultural produce to be imported; and what steps he proposes to take to see that this produce is not imported whilst home-grown supplies are available at a reasonable price.

Dr. Summerskill

I am sending the hon. Member a copy of a Press notice issued by the Board of Trade, which answers the first two parts of the Question. With regard to the third part, I estimate that the value of foodstuffs and agricultural produce to be imported from Holland under the agreement in 1948 amounts to approximately £28 million. As regards the last part of the Question, we have been in consultation, during the negotiations, with my right hon. Friend, the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries.

Mr. Baldwin

Is the hon. Lady aware that if coal and steel formed part of this transaction, as reported, it would be better to exchange coal and steel with either the Argentine or Russia, where there are coarse grains available, so that we could provide more home-produced bacon and eggs?

Mr. Alpass

Does it not largely depend upon the interpretation of "reasonable price"? Is not my hon. Friend aware that there is very considerable dissatisfaction amongst the housewives of this country at the prices they have had to pay in recent times for a lot of homegrown agricultural produce?

Dr. Summerskill

Yes, Sir.

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