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Dollar Purchases (Fruit And Vegetables)

Volume 437: debated on Tuesday 6 May 1947

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50.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer which clauses of the Anglo-U.S. loan agreement compel Britain to expend a portion of the loan on the purchases of fresh fruit and vegetables from the U.S.A.; and what is the amount involved in sterling in this commitment.

There is no such clause, but in arranging our fruit and vegetable imports, we must respect Article 9 of the agreement. These imports from U.S.A. in the first quarter of this year were millions.

Does not the Chancellor think it was a waste to spend over £1,000,000 on buying pears in these three months, and over £228,000 on grapes, many of which were uneatable by the time they reached this country?

I have given the details. They add up, as I informed the hon. Member, to £2,500,000 in the first quarter. I think that fruit is good for you, and I do not accept the statement that the grapes were not in a condition in which they could be consumed. Even if it were true, it is not my responsibility.

Would not some of this money have been better spent in buying meat offals which were available, and which were sorely needed to help our meat ration?