HC Deb 24 November 1953 vol 521 cc186-7
43. Sir L. Ropner

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will extend until 31st December the prohibition of import of onions.

49. Major Legge-Bourke

asked the President of the Board of Trade if, in the light of representations recently made to him, he is now able to postpone the date on which onion imports will be resumed.

50. Mr. Harold Davies

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in view of the expiry of the period of notice for objections to the waiver granted to Britain under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, Her Majesty's Government will now announce without delay its policy in regard to tariffs for horticultural imports from the Continent, so that the home producer may be aware of the prospects when determining what crops to grow for the coming season.

Mr. Amory

My right hon. Friend hopes to be in a position to announce the decisions of Her Majesty's Government in regard to tariffs for certain horticultural products, including onions, early next week. He will, at the same time, deal with the question of import licensing arrangements for these products, and I would, therefore, ask my hon. and gallant Friends and the hon. Gentleman to await that announcement.

Sir L. Ropner

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that there is an ample supply of home-grown onions to last until the end of December?

Mr. Amory

We are aware that there are rather larger quantities of home-grown onions available now than there were last year.

Mr. Harold Davies

As a supplementary to Question No. 50, may I ask whether the Ministry have had any talks about the lists with the National Farmers' Union branches in all the horticultural producing counties? Will the right hon. Gentleman see that our own horticultural producers are protected in this connection?

Mr. Amory

We have had many consultations, of course, and have been in the very closest touch for many months with the National Farmers' Union on the question of tariffs on horticultural products. I think that I can assure the hon. Member that what he has in mind is really one of our main objects.

Major Legge-Bourke

Would my right hon. Friend have some inquiry made into what is going on at the port of Boston in Lincolnshire? According to my information, onions are coming into that port in anticipation of the ban being lifted on 1st December. Surely that must be wrong.

Mr. Amory

I will look into that point.

Mr. Anthony Greenwood

Will the Minister give an assurance that the step now being taken will not mean that another article of food goes up in price?