HC Deb 10 July 1952 vol 503 cc1521-3
61. Captain Duncan

asked the Minister of Agriculture how he proposes to help horticulturalists to adjust their production to consumer demand; and whether he will give an assurance that it is still his policy that horticulturalists should be encouraged to grow enough produce to supply the whole British market.

Sir T. Dugdale

I have never advocated encouraging British horticulturists to attempt to supply the market with all the produce for which there is a demand; some kind of produce, such as oranges and bananas, cannot be grown in these islands, and others, such as tomatoes, only within a limited season. The demand for horticultural produce is subject to changes which depend on the weather and the mood of the consumer and are beyond the control of the Government.

As far as imports are concerned the case for higher import duties submitted by the National Farmers' Unions is at present under consideration, and I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the reply given by the President of the Board of Trade to my hon. Friend the Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) on 3rd July.

Mr. Mitchison

The answer is a lemon.

Captain Duncan

Is my right hon. Friend aware that in 1947 the growers of certain soft fruits were told they should be encouraged to grow as much as they could so as to supply the whole of the home demand? As they are now more than doing that will my right hon. Friend therefore make a new statement of policy so that they can be assured of a suitable amount of acreage and a stable market?

Sir T. Dugdale

I am not responsible for statements made in 1947, but I can assure my hon. and gallant Friend that the President of the Board of Trade and the Minister of Food and I are in close consultation on this problem.

Mr. G. Brown

Is the Minister aware that in 1947, and many times afterwards, these growers were advised to stabilise their acreage and not to increase it further, to avoid the difficulties now referred to?

The following Question stood upon the Order Paper:


To ask the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations, whether his attention has been called to the refusal to Miss Euphemia Cowan of permission to land in South Africa, in order to visit a friend of five years' standing, after all arrangements had been cleared by her with the South African authorities before sailing; whether he will make a statement on the circumstances and reason for the refusal; and, in view of the accepted relationships of travel between South Africa and ourselves, whether he will take steps to ensure that no British subject is so treated in future.

Mr. Woodburn

May I ask, through you, Sir, if the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations may reply to Question No. 91? At first sight it may appear as if this was a question of the technical exclusion of a person from Africa, but in a telegram from the girl she says that in addition to being asked whether she had sufficient money she was asked whether she knew if there was a definite colour bar in connection with South Africa. I would like to get the matter cleared up.

Mr. Speaker

The right hon. Member must await the reply he will receive as a Written Answer. I can only allow Questions not reached to be asked after Oral Questions if the Minister asks my permission before Question time on the grounds of public interest.