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Beer (Imports)

Volume 439: debated on Monday 7 July 1947

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43, 44 and 63.

asked the Minister of Food (1) how much beer from European countries has been licensed for import in the last year;

(2) what answer has been given to the application made to import beer into the United Kingdom from Germany;

(3) the quantity of beer permitted to be imported in the next 12 months; and the countries from which those imports will come.

Between 21st May, when the import scheme began, and 2nd July, import licences have been issued for 41,200 bulk barrels of 36 gallons each, including 4,000 barrels for re-export as ships' stores. This beer will come from Holland, Denmark, and Czechoslovakia. Further applications have been received or are anticipated covering 38,000 bulk barrels from these three countries in 1947 and 6,000 bulk barrels from Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and Germany. No answer has yet been given to the German application, involving only 28 barrels, as we are waiting for information on the supplies available and the method of payment.

Can the hon. Lady give an assurance that no licences will be granted for the import of beer made from grain which has been exported or diverted to those countries at the expense of British farmers who required feedingstuffs?

No, I cannot give that assurance. It is a matter for the country concerned. The International Emergency Food Council allocates grain, and the country which receives it can do what it likes with the allocation.

Is not the hon. Lady aware that something like 454,000 barrels of foreign beer were imported last year? Can she assure us that none of that was made from grain which was diverted to Germany?

Is the hon. Lady aware that as a result of two years of Socialist Government we have been compelled to import both coal and beer?