HC Deb 14 July 1938 vol 338 cc1546-7W
Mr. Adamson

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether his attention has been drawn to the projected closing down of fried fish and chip shops in various parts of the country owing to the excessive prices for potatoes and fish; and whether he will indicate what steps his Department is prepared to take to obviate such action so as to maintain these essential food supplies?

Mr. W. S. Morrison

I am aware of the action taken by certain fish fryers associations owing to the temporary shortage and high prices of potatoes in the last few days of June and the early part of July. Supplies of main crop potatoes generally come to an end during the latter part of June. With regard to supplies of new potatoes, the Jersey season was somewhat earlier than usual this year; on the other hand, owing to the drought, the home crop was late in coming forward. Imports of potatoes from foreign countries are regulated by Order under the Agricultural Marketing Act, 1933, and the quantity to be admitted from time to time is determined in the light of prospective supplies. The import quota for the current period was determined on the advice of the Market Supply Committee, having regard to the anticipations that neither home-grown nor Jersey potatoes would be in normal supply at the end of June, but I understand that a considerable proportion of the quota has not yet been taken up. Supplies of home grown new potatoes are now coming forward in good quantity and prices in the last few days have returned to normal levels. I am not aware of any shortage of supplies of fish, and prices to the producer appear to be comparable with those ruling in previous years.