HC Deb 24 April 1950 vol 474 cc581-2
18. Mr. Sidney Marshall

asked the Minister of Transport whether he will arrange for ample transport facilities to be provided for the quick distribution of the Cornish early potato crop so as to avoid the delays which occurred last spring.

Mr. Barnes

I am not aware of any difficulties which are likely to arise, but the matter is primarily one for arrangements between the consignors of the potatoes and the transport agencies concerned.

Mr. Douglas Marshall

If the right hon. Gentleman is not aware of any difficulties that may arise, is he not aware that this position was aggravated in the past by the then Minister of Food not having sufficient sense in dealing with this matter? Will he consult with his right hon. colleague?

Mr. Hayman

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the difficulties last year were due to the unduly pessimistic estimates of the early potato crop?

Mr. Barnes

I think that I would prefer to allow the Cornish Members to wrangle this out between themselves.

19. Mr. McAdden

asked the Minister of Transport by whose authority and for what reason potatoes required to be transported from farms at Hockley, Essex, to Rayleigh, Battlesbridge and Southend, are compelled to be sent by rail.

The Minister of Food (Mr. Maurice Webb)

I have been asked to reply. Potatoes sold cheaply for stockfeed have to be dyed so that they are not resold for human consumption at a higher price. The instruction mentioned by the hon. Member was designed to provide a better opportunity of making sure that this was done. We found, however, that it did not work well and cancelled it on 13th March.

Mr. McAdden

Can the Minister tell us by what strange process his Ministry came to the conclusion that by transporting potatoes by rail instead of by road they would be dyed better?