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Volume 530: debated on Monday 19 July 1954

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asked the Minister of Food when he expects to have disposed of all his stocks of coffee; and what action he proposes to take to prevent the price of coffee rising again when it is completely restored to the free market.

By next October: my right hon. and gallant Friend has no power to control the world price of coffee.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the Coffee Buyers' Association has recently issued a circular entitled, "What's happening to coffee?" in which they state that contracts made by the Government as bulk purchase long-term contracts have helped to keep down the price of coffee in this country? Is it not deplorable that the Government should have given up bulk purchase long-term contracts, which would have been helpful so far as coffee is concerned?

The hon. Gentleman should realise that had it been intended to continue or to renew these bulk purchase contracts it would have been at a price in the region of the present world price, and we hope that the world price will fall.

Is my hon. Friend aware that in the same leaflet it states that had there not been a severe frost in Brazil last season there would have been much more coffee available at a lower world price?

Can the Parliamentary Secretary say why the Government are quite incapable of doing what he constantly blamed the Labour Government for not doing?

In this case, the contracts have come to an end. To renew them would mean to continue the contracts at a high world price, and we hope that the world price will fall.