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Volume 486: debated on Monday 16 April 1951

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asked the Minister of Food whether his undertaking of 7th June, 1950, on behalf of His Majesty's Government that United Kingdom sugar consumption would be reviewed in 1953 in order to ascertain whether additional quantities of Colonial sugar could be purchased by his Department under guarantee, is still regarded by him as valid, in view of the current negotiations for increased purchases of sugar from Cuba.

Yes, Sir, I can give the hon. Gentleman an unqualified assurance on this point.

Is it not a fact that the agreement with Cuba, if concluded, will not add to the total amount of sugar available to the British public? Could not the Minister negotiate an agreement which would add to the total supplies available and which would thus reassure the interests in the West Indies and also enable sugar rationing to be abolished?

I think the interests in the West Indies are quite happy to accept the agreement mentioned in the Question. So long as they are quite certain that that agreement will be carried out they are quite happy and I do not propose to add to that statement at this moment.


asked the Minister of Food what percentage of the pre-war allocation of sugar is now made available to the cider-making trade; and how this compares with that at the service of the soft drinks trade.

The percentage for cider is 75 per cent. and that for soft drinks 59 per cent.

Has my right hon. Friend, in making these allocations, noted that the consumption of soft drinks has nearly doubled in this country compared with pre-war?

Yes. Although I myself am not always addicted to soft drinks I think that that is a very desirable thing to have happened.