HC Deb 14 October 1952 vol 505 cc2-3
1. Miss Ward

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will open conversations with the whisky distillers with a view to increasing the price of whisky exported to dollar countries, thus ensuring a further easement of the dollar position.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade (Mr. Henry Strauss)

No, Sir. Her Majesty's Government's policy is to leave the determination of export prices to United Kingdom exporters.

Miss Ward

Is my hon. and learned Friend aware that a great many people feel that the price of whisky could very well be increased with benefit to the people of this country; and am I to understand that if that is so it is not possible for my hon. and learned Friend just to indicate that we might get a better price, because it would help with our balance of payments?

Mr. Strauss

The price at which Scotch whisky sells in those countries is greater than that at which any other whisky sells. I do not take the view that Governments understand business better than those engaged in it.

Mr. Bottomley

Is the hon. and learned Gentleman aware that the hon. Member for East Aberdeenshire (Mr. Boothby), at Strasbourg, offered to give away good Scotch whisky free? Is that in line with Government policy?

Mr. Emrys Hughes

In view of the fact that Scotch whisky distillers are neglecting their patriotic duty and charging too low prices, is not it time they were nationalised?