§ 76. Major Beamish
asked the Minister of Food whether he is aware that considerable quantities of Polish onions are being sold in this country at 6s. for a 50 lb. bag; how this price compares with the minimum price that British growers charge for onions; what representations he has received on this matter from British growers; and what remedial action he proposes.
§ Mr. Strachey
My information is that Polish onions are fetching 12s. a cwt. for medium sizes and 16s. a cwt. for the larger sizes, ex quay. The most recent wholesale prices for English onions range from 4s. to 16s. a cwt. The total quantity of onions imported from Poland since the beginning of this season is less than 2,500 tons. I have received no representations from growers recently about these Polish imports. I am not proposing any remedial action since I am glad to say that both English and Polish onions are now selling to the housewife at from 2d. a lb. instead of 4½d. a lb. under control.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
In view of the fact that the right hon. Gentleman has stated the total imports from Poland, may I ask whether it is a fact that in the coming year more onions are to be imported from Poland and other countries than the whole of the annual consumption of onions in the United Kingdom?
§ Major Beamish
Is it still the right hon. Gentleman's policy to continue to buy food abroad at the cheapest possible price regardless of the effect on British agriculture?
§ Mr. Strachey
No, Sir. Certainly pot regardless of the effect and equally not regardless of the price, to the housewife.