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Volume 465: debated on Monday 16 May 1949

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asked the Minister of Food what was the loss to his Department in the dealings in last year's potato crop.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave him on 19th January, 1949. The 1948 crop is unlikely to be cleared for another two or three months.

When will the Minister, who keeps on wriggling out of giving the figures of his losses, realise that State trading is dangerous, and that with State trading there are inevitably losses for the taxpayers? Is he aware that the only cure is to return to healthy competition and to——

The Question is quite a direct one as to the amount of losses, and the hon. Member has received the answer.


asked the Minister of Food why the date for the importation of early potatoes has been extended from 14th May to 24th May.

In order to get the extra supplies which, in view of recent price increases, are evidently needed.

Directly resulting from the Minister's reply, will he consider extending the date in Cornwall for the delivery of early potatoes, owing to the drought, of which he is no doubt aware?

The extension of the date is precisely because we fear that the supplies of new potatoes as a whole are short.