HC Deb 23 April 1951 vol 487 cc13-4
32. Mr. Janner

asked the Minister of Food what restrictions he has put on firms in Leicester to prevent them from purchasing canned soups or other foods from Australia.

Mr. F. Willey

There are no restrictions on private firms purchasing from Australia canned soups or the majority of other processed foodstuffs; in fact, many processed foods, including canned soups, vegetables and jams, have been on open general licence since October, 1949. If the hon. Member can give me further details of any difficulties experienced by firms in Leicester, I shall be glad to look into the matter.

Mr. Janner

Is my hon. Friend aware that the managing director of a chain of shops in Leicester declared that he was not able to make purchases in Australia, and will he see that that statement, which was made as recently as 30th March, is refuted by him?

Mr. Willey

I have seen the report in question. No British purchasing mission has been to Australia recently nor has my Department purchased, for some years, any of the commodities specified in the article.

Sir Waldron Smithers

How many times have import licences been refused for imports by private traders which were in competition with bulk purchase imports? Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that the proposed import referred to in the question was refused by us and eventually went to Palestine?

Mr. Osborne

Is it not true that to import even under an open general licence a permit has to be obtained from the Treasury for the necessary funds, and that the stop is operated through the Treasury? Will the Parliamentary Secretary have this case investigated, as the statement was made in a debate broadcast by the B.B.C., and give the House the facts?

Mr. Willey

I have had this statement investigated and it appears to be unfounded.

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