§ Mr. Jackson
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he consulted with the trade, through the National Federation of Fruit and Potato Trades, Limited, before issuing the Import of Goods prohibition Orders Nos. 6, 7 and 8, which prohibit the import of apples and pears, fresh and raw, which may be despatched after 20th November, 1939, from foreign countries prior to the issue of those orders, with a view to ensuring that the public are provided with adequate minimum requirements?
§ Mr. Stanley
The aspect of the question to which the hon. Member refers was discussed between my Department and the Ministries of Agriculture and Food, but did not form part of the discussions with the National Federation of Fruit and Potato Trades before the issue of the Import of Goods (Prohibition) (No. 8) Order, which prohibited the import of apples and pears except under licence. According to my information at the time when the Order was made, there was no reason to anticipate any deficiency in the supply of these goods.
Mr. R. Duckworth
asked the President of the Board of Trade what representations he has received from the National Federation of Fruit and Potato Trades, Limited, representing the wholesale trade in fruit, flowers, potatoes, and vegetables, setting out the dislocation of trade due to the method and basis of operating quota and licence allocations; and what reply has been made thereto?
§ Mr. Stanley
A deputation was received in my Department on 3rd November from the National Federation of Fruit and Potato Trades and the London Chamber1046W of Commerce. The deputation urged that more notice should be given of the imposition of restrictions and that changes should not be made part way through a season for particular products, and asked for closer consultation and co-operation with bodies representing the trade. It was explained in reply that as much notice was and would in future be given as was consistent with the national interest; but that the need, whether for exchange or other purposes, of producing an immediate or early effect, and also the danger in some cases of forestalling, were limiting factors. The desire of the Department to keep in close touch with those representing the trade and to continue their co-operation with officials of the Federation and of the London Chamber of Commerce on problems special to the trade was emphasised.
§ Mr. R. Morgan
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in connection with the Import of Goods (Prohibition) Orders Nos. 6, 7 and 8, he is aware that the prohibition in respect of despatching apples and pears, fresh and raw, from America as and from 20th November was made known to certain private individuals in the trade in the United States of America prior to the official announcement in this country of the orders from his Department; and whether he can explain this leakage of information?
§ Mr. Stanley
A notice regarding the prohibition of the importation, except under licence, of apples and pears, fresh or raw, despatched from foreign countries on or after the 20th November, was issued on the evening of the 15th November in time for its publication both in this country and in America in the morning papers on the 16th November. The only case that has come to my knowledge suggesting a possible leakage of information is one in which a firm of importers in this country received, at 6.44 a.m. on 16th November, a telegram from a firm in the United States informing them of the prohibition. I am unable to account for this.