The provisions of the Soft Fruit (Maximum Prices) Order were settled after detailed conference with the National Farmers' Union, as representing the interests of growers. My Noble Friend, having now received further advice from the Union, has decided to make immediately a general licence enabling all growers with cultivations not exceeding one acre of any of the fruits specified in the Order, including strawberries, or of cherries, to sell their produce of that fruit at wholesale or retail prices according to the nature of the transaction. In the event of a grower desiring to sell direct to consumers, it will be necessary for him to hold or to obtain a retailer's licence from his local food control committee.
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that his answer shows the complete inability of his Department to grasp the facts laid before him last Saturday and last Monday, and that it will make confusion worse confounded? Is he also aware that one of our growers applied a fortnight ago for a retail licence, and that he has not had it yet; that the whole industry is in chaos, and that people belonging to it do not know whether they are breaking the law or not? I propose to raise this matter on the Adjournment at the earliest opportunity.