HC Deb 19 June 1950 vol 476 cc835-7
6. Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

asked the Minister of Food whether, in view of the fact that he has not authorised the general manufacture of cream in this country, he will reconsider his decision to refuse to allow the importation of cream from Ireland and elsewhere on private account.

13. Wing-Commander Bullus

asked the Minister of Food if he will now allow the importation by air and the sale in this country of Irish cream.

Mr. Webb

I see no good reason, at this stage, for revising this decision. In the first place, as I have said, it is more important to get butter than cream from the Irish Republic, and, in the second, I am anxious to get our home cream industry working before allowing overseas exporters to exploit our market. I hope I shall have the support of the hon. Gentlemen in this purpose.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Is it not a fact that, on 26th April last, the right hon. Gentleman expressed the same hope that he is expressing today as a reason for not permitting the importation of Irish cream? Can he say whether he has any real hopes or intentions of getting the home cream industry generally going this year?

Mr. Webb

Not this year. It is far too late this year, but next year I am fairly certain that it will be going again.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

If not this year, then why not permit the importation of Irish cream this year?

Commander Noble

With reference to what the Minister said about re-starting the home industry, could he say whether, except for Devonshire cream, it is possible for permission to be given to sell home-produced cream?

Mr. Webb

No, not outside the hill farm area in the four counties.

Mr. Vane

Why is it too late to help the home cream industry this year? Cream is wanted all the year round.

Mr. Webb

The manufacturers themselves wanted advice about machinery and equipment, and I think they would like more notice.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

On a point of order. As the right hon. Gentleman has avoided the whole point of my question as to why he should not permit the importation of Irish cream until he starts the home industry, I wish to give notice that I shall raise the matter on the Adjournment.

21. Mr. Geoffrey Wilson

asked the Minister of Food how many Cornish hill farmers have applied for a licence to make and sell clotted cream; how many of such licences have been issued by the regional supply milk officer since the coming into operation of the arrangements on the 1st June, 1950; and how the number of such applications compares with the number of milk producers in Cornwall.

Mr. Webb

Up to 14th June, 34 applications had been received and three licences granted. There are about 9,000 milk producers in the county, but it is estimated that not more than 300 of them are hill farmers eligible to take part in the scheme.

Mr. Wilson

Is the Minister aware that one of the three who has been granted a licence owns one cow, and in view of that will he dispel the popular illusion that Cornish cream can be legally obtained in Cornwall, and thereby protect the retailers?

Mr. Webb

I do not think that that question will do the Cornish cream industry any good at all. All these applications are being considered on their merits, and I am assured that each case approved is able to provide a reasonable supply of cream which can be marketed.