HL Deb 05 August 1941 vol 119 cc1086-7WA

asked His Majesty's Government the value respectively of British Empire cocoa, Egyptian cotton and Empire wool paid for to date under respective purchase undertakings entered into since commencement of hostilities.


The total value of the British Empire cocoa, Egyptian cotton and British Empire wool purchased in pursuance of the various undertakings entered into by His Majesty's Government since the outbreak of hostilities, is approximately £171,000,000. The purchases of British Empire cocoa have been almost entirely from Nigeria and the Gold Coast, which constitute the principal sources of supply. Up to the end of September, 1940, purchases were made by the Ministry of Food and the amount expended by that Ministry was £5,000,000. In October, 1940, the West African Cocoa Contral Board was set up and has purchased the whole of the 19.40–41 crop at a cost of approximately £6,000,000.

The British Cotton Buying Commission in Egypt had purchased up to the 27th June last cotton and cotton seed to the value of £25,000,000. Buying ceased at the end of June. The only undertaking given by His Majesty's Government in respect of Egyptian cotton was to provide the finance for this Commission, which was empowered to buy all the 1940 crop cotton and cotton seed offered to it before June 30, 1941. The Ministry of Supply is responsible for the purchase of wool from the Dominions and certain parts of the Colonial Empire and has expended the sum of £135,000,000 up to the present date. This figure covers two complete wool years in respect of Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the Falkland Islands and one wool year in respect of Kenya. Much of the cocoa, cotton and wool purchased as described above has already been resold and the figures quoted above are gross totals, not net irrecoverable expenditure.