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Spring Vegetables (Supply)

Volume 526: debated on Thursday 8 April 1954

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42.

asked the Minister of Agriculture the prospects in respect of the supply of vegetables in the late spring.

Vegetables in season from the middle of April until the end of May consist mainly of spring cabbage and winter cauliflower, with swedes and carrots available until about the middle of May. There are ample supplies in prospect of root vegetables. As a result of the severe frost at the end of January and the beginning of February, supplies of spring cabbage and especially winter cauliflower have been substantially below normal for the time of year. If, however, the weather remains favourable, cutting is expected to increase from now onwards, and approach the normal level during May.

Do I understand that no provision is being made outside this country to import vegetables? In view of their great scarcity and the way prices are going up, can the right hon. Gentleman tell the housewife that there is nothing to worry about?

I think the hon. Gentleman has it all wrong. There is no quota restriction on the import of vegetables from our usual overseas sources of supply. Up to now I understand that, generally, the retail prices of vegetables have been lower this year than they were last year.