HC Deb 08 March 1948 vol 448 cc797-8
72. Mr. Collins

asked the Minister of Food the quantities of strawberries, grapes, cherries, tomatoes, cucumbers and onions, for which licences will be granted for importation from Holland up to 30th June.

Dr. Summerskill

Under the recent Anglo-Dutch Trade Agreement, we have undertaken to allow imports from Holland during 1948, of 100 tons of strawberries, 6,000 tons of grapes, 500 tons of cherries, 12,000 tons of tomatoes, 8,000 tons of cucumbers and about 65,000 tons of onions, including shallots.

Mr. Collins

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that figures almost precisely similar to those she has given were published in a trade paper some three weeks ago, when it was stated that they emanated from Dutch sources? Can an undertaking be given that before similar decisions are reached trade organisations in this country will be consulted?

Dr. Sumerskill

My hon. Friend knows perfectly well that we consult the trade at every stage, but if he cares to give any further information, I shall be prepared to look into it.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

Can the hon. Lady assure the House that these onions imported from overseas will be subject to the same measurement test as is laid down in the Onion Order, 1947?

Mr. Baldwin

Before these licences are issued, will the Parliamentary Secretary consult with the Minister of Agriculture to ensure that licences are not granted so long as home growers can supply the food in question?

Dr. Summerskill

The hon. Member knows that we work with the Ministry of Agriculture. At the moment licences for only strawberries, cherries and cucumbers have been issued. We shall consider, in conjunction with my right hon. Friend, the point which the hon. Member has raised.