HC Deb 08 December 1952 vol 509 c32
44. Mr. Osborne

asked the Minister of Food how much of the greatly increased imports from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics are foodstuffs; what proportion he is buying of the foodstuffs offered; and what are the main increases and decreases purchased in 1952 as compared with 1951.

Dr. Hill

Imports of food and feedingstuffs in the first nine months of 1952 amounted to £34.7 million, out of total imports of £47.8 million from the Soviet Union.

Except for some canned crab and salmon we have bought all the food and feedingstuffs offered to us.

Supplies of grain contracted for in 1952 have so far been considerably smaller than in 1951. Compared with that year, we have bought a little more canned salmon but less canned crab.

Mr. Osborne: Has the volume of the food imports from Russia increased, as well as the value of the food; and, further, would not the Minister agree that, since imports from Russia during the last two years have increased from £24 million to £47 million, it is evident that the Conservative Party are not stopping trade with the Soviet Union?

Dr. Hill

The answer to both parts of the Question is "Yes, Sir."

Mr. Chapman

Has the hon. Gentleman any evidence that the Soviet Union has any more food to offer to us, in view of the fact that many people are always alleging that we do not buy as much as we can?

Dr. Hill

We have no such evidence.