HC Deb 09 July 1959 vol 608 cc1538-9
12 and 14. Mr. Fisher

asked the Minister af Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what proposals he has for the purchase by his Department of orange juice from the West Indies for consumption under the welfare schemes;

(2) what proposals he has for the purchase of citrus products from the West Indies.

Mr. John Hare

I have a responsibility for procurement of concentrated orange juice for the welfare foods service. A ten-year contract for the purchase from the West Indies of this orange juice has still one year to run. The arrangements for future years are now under discussion with a delegation from the West Indies.

Mr. Fisher

After this year has finished, the method of buying may perhaps be different and the amount of orange juice we require may perhaps be less. Despite that, will my right hon. Friend give an assurance that whatever is required for welfare schemes will be bought from the West Indies citrus industry, which was, after all, developed to help us in war-time and should not be abandoned by us now merely to assist the United States citrus industry?

Mr. Hare

I do not think that there is any question of abandoning anything. All I am saying is that these discussions are now taking place. I will certainly bear in mind what my hon. Friend has said.

Mr. Hastings

Are tests made as to the vitamin content of various samples of orange juice so that we may be quite sure that they remain equally valuable for children, who need them so much?

Mr. Hare

Yes, the hon. Gentleman is quite right. The consideration which he has mentioned has to be borne very much in mind.

Mr. Gordon Walker

Will the right hon. Gentleman give a clear Answer to the Question asked by his hon. Friend, which is very important and which is supported on both sides of the House?

Mr. Hare

The right hon. Gentleman has been in responsible positions before. When one is having discussions, there is nothing one can say at the early stages before those discussions are completed.