HC Deb 16 December 1954 vol 535 cc1970-1
43. Mr. K. Thompson

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in view of the threatened shortage and consequent high price of eating apples, he will increase the sums available for the importation of apples from European sources.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

No, Sir. Competing claims on our resources of foreign exchange mean that we cannot at present afford to increase the quota for European apples above the level already announced.

Mr. Thompson

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, since the British crop has been sold and while we are waiting for the Australian apples to arrive, the market is dependent on high-priced North American apples and that this situation could be relieved by the importation of more European apples which are available?

Mr. Thorneycroft

All these matters have been considered, and we think in the circumstances that the quota arrangements are satisfactory.

Mr. Snow

In the interests of the consumers, would it not be a good thing to consider the pre-war traditional markets in Europe, such as Bulgaria, where trade relationships seem to be jeopardised by outstanding debt differences of opinion, and also France, the exports from which are seriously down compared with pre-war?

Mr. Thorneycroft

In considering our liberalisation arrangement, we bear all these considerations in mind.

Major Legge-Bourke

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that the apple growers of Wisbech in the Isle of Ely will hardly agree with the contention in the Question that there is a threatened shortage of apples.