§ 62. Mr. Arbuthnot
asked the Minister of Food whether he is now in a position to make a statement with regard to the re-opening of the London tea auctions.
§ Mr. Webb
Yes, Sir. The Government have decided, in principle, that the London Tea Market shall re-open in April, 1951, and the trade are now free to take any necessary preliminary steps to that end. Rationing, price control and subsidy arangements must continue for a time, and a scheme has been devised for the operation of the tea auctions under these conditions. Full co-operation has been promised by all sections of the trade, and, as this has largely contributed to the successful working of the present system, I believe that the scheme will serve its purpose satisfactorily. It should be emphasised, however, that this decision may have to be reviewed in the light of any developments in the international situation.
§ Mr. Sydney Silverman
Can my right hon. Friend say whether the rapid rise in tea shares over the last 48 hours is part of the co-operation of the trade on which he relies?
§ Mr. Remnant
Have the Governments of the exporting countries been consulted, and will tea auctions be permitted to deal with tea manufactured before 1951?
§ Mr. Arbuthnot
How does the Government propose to dispose of the Government stocks once the tea auctions have been re-opened? Will these stocks be made available and sold at the auctions?