HC Deb 12 July 1954 vol 530 cc1-3
2. Mr. Dudley Williams

asked the Minister of Food his estimate of the consumption of canned fruits in the United Kingdom.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food (Dr. Charles Hill)

In 1951, 1952 and 1953 about 194,000, 137,000 and 195,000 tons, respectively.

Mr. Williams

While thanking my hon. Friend for that reply, may I ask him to bear in mind that all these supplies can be produced within the Commonwealth or the United Kingdom? Therefore, would he be careful before accepting gifts from the United States of America under the Mutual Security Act, otherwise there may be unemployment in the canning industry in this country and Commonwealth relations may be strained?

Dr. Hill

I remind my hon. Friend that if the total programme supplies of canned fruit under the Mutual Security Act are received, they will amount to 3.9 per cent. of the total consumption of this country.

Mr. Dodds

Will the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that the housewife can do with more canned fruits if they are cheaper, and if there should be gifts, even from outside the Commonwealth, will he remember the housewife and accept them with thanks?

Dr. Hill

I appreciate what the hon. Gentleman says.

3. Mr. N. Macpherson

asked the Minister of Food whether he is aware of the growth of the home packing of canned fruit salad from fruit imported in bulk from the Commonwealth and the threat to this industry constituted by the resumption of shipments from the United States of America; and what steps he will take to protect this industry.

Dr. Hill

The importation of canned fruit salad from the United States of America has not been resumed.

Mr. Macpherson

Will my hon. Friend give an undertaking that it will not be resumed without the fullest consultation both with the interests in this country and with those in Commonwealth countries?

Dr. Hill

I have already told my hon. Friend the Member for Exeter (Mr. Dudley Williams) that if the total supplies under the M.S.A. programme are received they will amount to less than 4 per cent. of the total consumed.

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