HC Deb 12 July 1950 vol 477 cc1354-5
56. Commander Noble

asked the Minister of Food whether he will now say to what use he will put the £500,000 profit made by his Department on the sale in this country of a part of the gift of apples from British Columbia.

Mr. Webb

I have given careful consideration to the many suggestions made for using the profit which has resulted from this most generous and acceptable gift. In doing so I have held in mind that it was clearly the wish of the donors of these apples that any ensuing benefit should go to the citizens of the United Kingdom. That being so, I am sure they would not expect—and, indeed, might resent—any proposal to return the profit to Canada in any form.

I have therefore decided that the best and simplest way of sharing this gift among the greatest number of the people for whom it was intended will be to retain it to the credit of my Department's Trading Account to be used as a contribution to our food subsidies. By this means, this half million pounds will be a material factor in keeping food prices down and this will effectively meet the desire of the donors to assist the people of the United Kingdom.

Commander Noble

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that his answer really means that he is using this profit from the sale of a gift, to offset the many other trading losses of his Department?

Mr. Webb

I ant trying to use this gift in accordance with the wishes of those who made it.

Captain Crookshank

Does the right hon. Gentleman mean that the people who generously made this gift thought that they were subscribing towards reducing our food subsidies? Does not he think that he can find some more imaginative use for this money?

Mrs. Jean Mann

Does my right hon. Friend regard the £460 million paid out to keep food prices down, as a trading loss?

Mr. Marlowe

When the right hon. Gentleman says that he is satisfied that the Canadians would not wish any of this money to go back to Canada—for example, to the Winnipeg Relief Fund—does he mean that he has consulted anybody in Canada to see whether they share that view?

Mr. Webb

I have taken the widest consultation about it.

Mr. Marlowe

With Canada?

Mr. Webb

Yes. If, in fact, we were to return the money in any form, they would rather resent it.

Commodity Losses in year to 31st March, 1946 Losses in year to 31st March, 1947 Losses in year to 31st March, 1948 Losses in year to 31st March, 1949
£m. £m. £m. £m.
Bacon 3.0 7.2 14.0 17.0
Flour and bread 50.40 49.0 78.9 98.8
Dried fruits 3.3 3.5 0.9
Eggs and egg products 31.5 30.9 28.7 28.7
Oat products 2.7 2.5 0.1 0.2
Meat 32.4 36.7 56.9 58.0
Milk 24.4 38.4 35.5 44.3
Butter 8.7 14.6 25.8 40.0
Cheese 9.6 12.9 22.7 20.0
Condensed milk 2.1 3.3
Milk powder 1.4 1.6
Margarine (domestic) 0.1 1.7 6.9 13.3
Cooking fat (domestic) 1.2 0.2 7.0
Other edible oils and fats 1.6 1.3
Potatoes and carrots 8.3 18.7 10.4 11.6
Sugar (domestic) 19.6 29.6 31.7 25.1
Tea 2.9 4.8 9.2 18.5
Canned fish 0.4
Fish 1.2 0.5
Starch 0.1 0.3
Manufactured foods 0.1
203.2 257.1 323.3 383.3
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