HC Deb 16 March 1953 vol 512 cc1808-9
16. Miss Burton

asked the Minister of Food if he is aware that the price of bananas has still not fallen; and if he will now reconsider the de-control which resulted in these high prices.

Major Lloyd George

I have nothing to add to the reply given to the hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey) on 26th January last.

Miss Burton

We have had a lot of information since then. Is the Minister aware that in Regent Street, Oxford Street and Edgware Road last week, bananas were 2s. a lb. on Thursday, that on Friday most of the bananas on the barrows were unpriced, and that when I asked the price, the answer was "One and nine, to you, dear"? Is he aware that on Saturday the barrows had no prices for most of the morning, but that towards lunch time they had cards stating "Today's price 2s. 6d."? Is that the policy of the Tory Government?

Major Lloyd George

I am glad to hear that the hon. Lady got 3d. knocked off. With regard to the price of 2s. 6d., the actual average price is working out at 1s. 2¾d. If bananas are marketed at 2s. 6d. per lb., I have only one thing to say. They should not be bought, and that would soon bring the price down, because bananas do not keep at all well.

Mr. Gower

Could my right hon. and gallant Friend say whether the barrow boys always kept to the controlled prices in the old days?

Miss Burton

Since the Minister said that bananas which are dearer than under control should not be bought, is he aware that I did not buy them at 2s., but that I told the barrow boy that that was the worst of having the opposite party in power?

An Hon. Member

What did he say?

Major Lloyd George

As a matter of fact, had control remained in force, the price of bananas would have had to go up in any case because of the cost of production, and the fact of the matter is that there has been an exceptionally strong demand at the moment, and that this is the first time the supply has been equal to pre-war days.

Mr. Willey

Is the Minister aware that, in a personal food survey I have just conducted, bananas were revealed nowhere at less than 2s. per lb., and that I should like to get some, because I have a family? Can he tell me where I can get them at Is. 2d. per lb.?

Major Lloyd George

I will let the hon. Gentleman know as soon as I possibly can, because I have seen them myself at below 2s. per lb. [HON. MEMBERS: "Where?"] I walk about London as well as the hon. Lady, and I will gladly send the hon. Gentleman a telephone message telling him where he can get them.