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Volume 498: debated on Wednesday 9 April 1952

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asked the Minister of Food what is the estimated amount of cheese which is expected to arrive from New Zealand during 1952.

The present estimate is 80,000 tons. But, as the hon. Member is aware, no very precise figure can be given so early in the year.

Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that this is a serious reduction on last year's figures?

Certainly, Sir. That is one of the troubles we are up against. The dollar trouble has something to do with it; if it had been handled better we should not now have been in all this difficulty. The other trouble is the shortfall from New Zealand.

Can my right hon. and gallant Friend say what he expects the total supplies from all sources to be this year compared with last year?

Surely the right hon. and gallant Gentleman will admit that his own party said that there was plenty of food in the world and that all they had to do was to let the private buyers go and buy it? Why does he not do that?

That is perfectly true, but it must be recollected that we have to get the money with which to do it, and it will take more than the time that we have had to make up for what has happened in the last six years.

Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that the Government's inability to buy New Zealand cheese when available may eventually affect our market there?

That really is not so. The amount available in New Zealand is less than it was last year.