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Bilberries (Picking Rates)

Volume 390: debated on Wednesday 30 June 1943

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asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food the reasons which decided his Ministry to fix the price of 7d. per lb. to whimberry pickers this season?

The price of bilberries or whimberries has been controlled because of the large number of complaints last season that they were being sold in retail shops at quite excessive prices. The price to the picker, which is nearly twice as high as that allowed to the picker of wild blackberries, appeared to be reasonable in relation to the prices currently fixed for other soft fruits.

May I ask the hon. Gentleman to reconsider this decision, in view of the representations which he knows have been made to him? Is he not aware that there is no comparison here with the picking of blackberries, since whim-berries are extremely small, and it takes well over an hour to pick a pound?

The matter has been very carefully considered. We cannot get the price quite out of range of other soft fruit without the danger of diverting pickers from other fruits. Moreover, it is by no means certain that the increased price went to the pickers last year.