HC Deb 04 February 1953 vol 510 cc1841-2
40. Miss Burton

asked the Minister of Food if he is now in a position to make a statement as to the action proposed by the Government concerning the various suggestions put forward for the reorganisation of fruit and vegetable distribution; or when he expects to be able to do so.

The Minister of Food (Major Lloyd George)

No, Sir.

Miss Burton

I hope the Minister will reply to the last part of my Question, because "No, Sir" does not seem to fit into it. May I ask the right hon. and gallant Gentleman if he will inform the House whether it is intended to do anything about the distribution of fruit and vegetables, and if he is aware that shopkeepers are asking 1s. 6d. a lb. today in the shops for bananas because the wholesalers broke their commitment when bananas were de-controlled?

Major Lloyd George

I would not accept the last part of that question. My answer, "No, Sir," refers to the first part of the hon. Lady's Question, and therefore the second part does not arise.

Mr. Baldwin

Is my right hon. and gallant Friend aware that there are Cooperative shops in Coventry with green grocery departments in which during the season plums at 2d. a lb. and apples at 3d. a lb. could have been delivered straight into the shops, and does he think that any reorganisation would make any more available to the public?

Mr. I. 0. Thomas

Would the Minister indicate if his reply implies that Her Majesty's Government is satisfied with the present system of food and vegetable distribution?

Major Lloyd George

That is not so at all. The whole question of the distribution of vegetables and fruit is one which has been before the country for at least 30 years, and one of the most important and difficult things to overcome is the fact that any reorganisation would entail very heavy capital expenditure which is not possible at present.