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Ceylon Tea

Volume 530: debated on Monday 19 July 1954

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asked the Minister of Food whether he is aware of the decision of the Ceylon Government to reduce tea shipments to Britain; and what steps he is taking to safeguard an ample supply of tea next year.

Is the hon. Gentleman not aware of the statement, issued under the authority of the Ceylon Government, that they will export only 30 million lb. next year as against 65 million lb. this year and 116 million lb. last year? Is there no planning or preparation at all in the Ministry of Food to safeguard the food of the people?

The hon. Gentleman is under a misapprehension. The report refers to a limitation of tea coming to the London auctions. There is no limit on the amount of tea which may be imported into this country from Ceylon via the Colombo market.

Does that answer mean that no preparations are being made to safeguard ample supplies at reasonable prices and that it is being left to the free market which, as with coffee, will send prices up?

No. It means that Ceylon proposes, according to the report, to do what it is entitled to do and that is to limit the amount of high grade and medium grade tea coming to the London auctions so that more shall go through the Colombo auctions.