HC Deb 19 February 1951 vol 484 c127W
64. Mr. Osborne

asked the Minister of Food why foreign ships at United Kingdom ports are permitted to purchase foodstuffs which are subject to price control and therefore at subsidised prices; and what was the total cost last year of subsidising these foreign purchases.

Mr. Webb

There are serious administrative difficulties in recovering the subsidy on food supplied for oceangoing vessels, while maintaining subsidised prices for coasters and fishing-boats, but I am still examining what can be done to solve these difficulties. In the meantime foreign ships may only take on food supplies at ports in this country sufficient to take them to the first foreign port of call. There are no separate figures for the subsidy on supplies going to foreign ships, but figures obtained for foreign passenger ships during the last three months of 1949 showed a subsidy figure of just over £3,000 or £12,000 a year.

Sir W. Smithers

asked the Minister of Food why, in view of the food shortages, foreign ships in British ports are allowed to avail themselves of the food subsidy paid for by the British taxpayer when purchasing certain foodstuffs.

Mr. Webb

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave today to the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Osborne).