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Imports From Australia

Volume 438: debated on Wednesday 18 June 1947

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asked the Minister of Food why His Majesty's Government have refused to buy certain breakfast foods, macaroni, wheatmeal, plum puddings, semolina, tomato sauce. fruit cake, custard powder and ice-cream powder from Australia; and what amounts of each were offered for sale to add to the quantity and variety of our food supplies.

Our balance-of-payments position does not permit us to buy these comparatively expensive foods in Australia. With the exception of 1,200 tons of pastry mix and 230 tons of fruit cake, offers have either been tentative, without specifying quantities, or have been made to private importers.

Would the Minister consider the advantages of importing more food from Australia and fewer American films from America, or does the Government contend that the British housewife prefers Clark Gable to breakfast?

No, Sir. The British housewife prefers us to import the maximum tonnage we can of dairy produce, meat and other staple products of Australia, of which we get every ounce we can.