HC Deb 18 June 1951 vol 489 cc11-2
10. Mr. Thornton-Kemsley

asked the Minister of Food if he is aware that the decision made last summer to allow the import of canned meats under licence is of little value in practice because of the substantial increase in the world price of meat since the maximum prices for imported canned meats were laid down in Statutory Rules and Orders, 1949, No. 782; what representations he has received from importers; and what reply he has made.

Mr. Webb

The facts do not support the hon. Member's suggestion. The average monthly arrivals of privately imported canned meats during the first quarter of 1951 were noticeably higher—about 25 per cent.—than in the last quarter of 1950. Importers have, however, made representations to me for increased prices for certain lines of canned meat, and I am considering them.

Mr. Thornton-Kemsley

It was to the "certain lines" that my Question was directed. Does the Minister agree that these "certain lines" are good food, which would be welcomed by the people of this country, but that they cannot be imported and sold within the price limits which were fixed by the Ministry in 1949?

Mr. Webb

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman would await the outcome of the consideration of these special lines.

Mr. Mitchison

What is the maximum price of "certain lines" in a can?

Sir Waldron Smithers

When will the Minister realise that the increase of food prices all over the world is entirely due to bulk purchasing, and the validity of the principle that if we restrict consumption we restrict output?

Mr. Speaker

That question goes far wider than the Question.