HC Deb 08 February 1940 vol 357 cc435-6W
Mr. Markham

asked the Minister of Food whether he has considered the protests from Midlands traders against the increase of 5s. per ton of potatoes to the growers without any increase in prices to the retailers; and whether he proposes to take remedial action?

Mr. W. S. Morrison

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to Questions on this subject on 1st February, of which I am sending him a copy.

Sir J. Smedley Crooke

asked the Minister of Food whether he is aware that growers in Lincolnshire have been advised by the local branch of the National Fanners' Union to hold back and reduce deliveries of potatoes in order to secure the advantage of the new increased prices which they state will be announced probably before the end of this month; and what steps he intends to take to remedy the existing shortage which is considered by many members of the trade to be attributable rather to the action of growers in withholding supplies, than to exceptional weather conditions?

Mr. Morrison

I am aware of the particular local instance mentioned, but I understand there has been no general encouragement of a withholding of supplies. The real cause of the temporary shortage which occurred in some districts was the abnormal weather conditions rendering it difficult, if not impossible, for farmers to open their potato clamps without risk of injury to the potatoes owing to the frost.

Mr. Temple Morris

asked the Minister of Food whether all branches of the trades interested, as well as the consumers, have been consulted prior to the compilation of the new schedule of potato prices shortly to be issued; and whether this step will, even at this stage, be taken if necessary to avoid the difficulties which have arisen already, in connection with the controlled prices of other products?

Mr. Morrison

The new schedule of potato prices has been discussed with representatives of growers and all the trade interests concerned.

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