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Carrots And Celery

Volume 438: debated on Wednesday 4 June 1947

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49.

asked the Minister of Food if he has considered the details which have been sent him about the price of carrots and Californian celery and the difficulties experienced by English growers in obtaining an economic price; and if he will make a statement.

I have read the correspondence which the hon. Member was good enough to send me. Fixed growers' prices are prescribed for maincrop carrots, and growers are assured a market far all standard grade carrots they produce. These prices are regarded by growers in general as providing a reasonable return on the crop. New carrots are at present free of price control. Prices for celery, whether it is grown here or imported, are not controlled. Imports of this vegetable are not shown separately in the Trade and Navigation Accounts, but I learn that celery has come from the United States only in the last two months when home supplies were exhausted and that even so, the quantity was less than 15 tons. I cannot see, therefore, how this import can have affected the home grower.

Does not the Minister realise that because he has purchased these two commodities abroad—and I take it he will not tell us at what cost to the taxpayer—he is putting the home growers out of business?

No, Sir. I have not purchased either commodity abroad. They have been purchased by private enterprise.

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that there is a tendency tot certain people to sky-rocket prices of uncontrolled commodities of this kind; is he not aware that in the last four years celery has been sold at a price more than 120 per cent. higher than before the war, and that carrots have rendered a reasonable return to everybody in the trade and that they are satisfied?