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Fruit And Vegetables (Distribution)

Volume 527: debated on Monday 17 May 1954

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20.

asked the Minister of Food what steps he is taking to improve the distribution of fruit and vegetables.

As the hon. Member well knows, there is no quick or easy way of improving the present system, and I cannot usefully add to what I have already said on past occasions.

In view of the fact that the main difficulty was that of capital expenditure, and in view of the improved position now, will the right hon. and gallant Gentleman energetically look at this matter?

I am always prepared to look at this question, which, as the hon. Gentleman knows, is an extremely difficult one. The capital expenditure involved is very considerable, as he knows.

Will my right hon. and gallant Friend consult the Minister of Agriculture, and consider whether the time is not opportune for setting up a Royal Commission to go into the whole question of horticultural marketing? There have been a number of Departmental investigations, but surely a Royal Commission might do some very useful work?

I am prepared to consider anything, for this is a matter of some importance, but over the last 30 years there have been a large number of inquiries into this extremely difficult question. There is a good deal of exaggeration in the matter, and there are also a tremendous number of interests to be consulted before I can go any further, but I will certainly have a look at it.