§ 16. Miss Burton
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he has now considered the evidence sent to him by the hon. Member for Coventry, South, concerning the position of small greengrocers who have unsaleable produce sold to them as a result of wholesalers' sales not being subject to existing weights and measures legislation; and if he will make a statement.
As the scope of the Weights and Measures Act does not cover "unsaleable produce" it would not offer a greengrocer buying such produce any protection. The question whether the recommendations of the Hodgson Committee Report that the provisions of the Weights and Measures Act should apply to wholesale transactions in fruit and vegetables is under consideration by my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade.
§ Miss Burton
Would the right hon. Gentleman say what good he thinks it is to the small retailer that all these matters are "under consideration"? Will he for once be practical and tell the House who is to pay for the bad produce which the retailer gets and for which the wholesaler gets full price? Does lie intend to do anything about that except consider it?
If I were a retailer I should certainly not pay my wholesaler full price for produce which was sold to me in a bad condition. I would change my wholesaler; that is the answer. 11 I hope that if greengrocers or any other horticultural retailers have any complaints of this kind they will give their evidence to Lord Runciman and his Committee on Horticultural Marketing.
§ Mr. Nabarro
Would my right hon. Friend resist all blandishments to interfere in any way with the normal commercial processes in this field?
I find it very difficult to resist the blandishments of the hon. Lady the Member for Coventry, South (Miss Burton).
§ Miss Burton
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that I am not proffering blandishments but rather brick-bats? Is he aware that his answer was completely divorced from reality and that no retailer has a chance of refusing to pay his wholesaler the full price; he just gets landed with the stuff?
I have been in business for a long time and I never found that it was worth while to accept supplies which were of a bad quality. I would rather not accept any supplies at all.
§ Mr. Baldwin
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that these small greengrocers can go into the Coventry market every day and buy produce direct from the producers, cutting out the wholesalers completely?