Major Lloyd George:
My Noble Friend has had under consideration the arrangements for marketing next season's crop or carrots and onions, and has decided upon certain modifications of the existing schemes designed, in the case of carrots, to give his Department a closer and more direct control over distribution. The scheme of control for the marketing of next season's crop of carrots is generally on the lines of the Potato Control Scheme which has operated successfully since February, 1940. There will be fixed growers' prices and a guaranteed market for carrots of standard grade. The proposed prices and other conditions will be discussed with representatives of the growers and distributors at an early date.
Responsibility for controlling the marketing of main crop onions will also be assumed by the Ministry of Food. Maximum growers' prices will be prescribed and the Ministry will, so far as practicable, arrange for the equitable distribution of the crop. In this case, also, the Government proposals will be the subject of an early discussion with the growers' representatives and with representatives of the trade interests concerned. In view of these proposed developments of policy, my Noble Friend has decided that it will be more convenient if Government control over the marketing of these crops is exercised by his Department direct, instead of through the agency of the National Vegetable Marketing Company, Limited.
If it had been decided to continue the existing forms of control, my Noble Friend would have been glad again to avail himself of the assistance of the company, which has discharged its difficult task during the past year with efficiency and success. Since the original establishment of the company, however, the Ministry of Food has extended its activities in the acquisition and marketing of potatoes, and the necessary machinery now exists within the Ministry for operating the proposed scheme of carrot control with comparatively small increase in the administrative costs incurred directly by my Department. Steps will be taken to wind up the company on com- pletion of its operations in connection with last year's carrot crop. My Noble Friend wishes to place on record his warm appreciation of the public service rendered by the chairman of the company, the hon. and learned Member for Ashford (Mr. Spens), by the board of directors, and by the staff, whose hard work and good will have been evident from the outset.
Why should these green vegetables be available, because of their price, only to a very limited section of the population? If they are scarce, why should not the right hon. and gallant Gentleman take steps to see that they are available to those whose need is possibly greater?