HC Deb 02 June 1954 vol 528 cc1270-1
32. Mr. Willey

asked the Minister of Food whether he will make a statement about the future policy of his Department regarding bulk purchase and long-term agreements for the procurement of essential foodstuffs.

Dr. Hill

Yes, Sir. It is to restore the trade in foodstuffs to private enterprise whenever possible.

Mr. Willey

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that his reply will cause some disturbance in the Commonwealth? Is he further aware that I am anxious to avoid introducing a controversial note in this matter, but that Government to Government understanding has become part of the pattern of Commonwealth trade? Will he try to avoid being too much impelled by doctrinnaire considerations in this matter?

Dr. Hill

The hon. Gentleman will realise that, where such arrangements have been brought to an end before the end of the contractual period, it has been with the full agreement and co-operation of the Governments concerned. There has been, and will be, no breaking of contracts entered into, except by full mutual agreement.

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