asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he is aware of the dissatisfaction that prevails in South Wales owing to the unfair distribution of the cherry crop of this season and the large quantities that are now one sale in London shops and on its streets at prices considerably below the control price; and will he take immediate steps to rectify the position?
I cannot agree that the distribution of the cherry crop has been unfair, nor am I aware of any general dissatisfaction in South Wales. All the main markets in South Wales have received good supplies of excellent quality throughout the season. In so far as cherries have been sold in London at prices below the maximum controlled price, they have been of inferior quality.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the cherries sent to South Wales have been largely of inferior quality, and that they were sold at the controlled price, which is very substantially above the price at which ripe cherries were sold here on the streets of London?
Is the hon. Member not aware that cherries have been sold by the ton in the streets of London at 1s. or 1s. 1d. per lb.? Every hon. Member here has seen them.
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he will take immediate steps to remove the restrictions recently placed on the transport of home-grown plums to South Wales, in view of the fact that the plum-producing areas are at considerable distances from South Wales and near to large and populous districts which will, in consequence, deprive South Wales of its fair share?
There are at present no restrictions on the movement of plums into South Wales. The entry of plums from areas other than the West Midland area will be subject to licence during the period of peak production, but South Wales will receive during this period plums from the West Midland area free of restriction.
Is it not likely from that answer that South Wales will receive very few plums during the season, owing to the vast populous districts which surround the West Midland area; and cannot the Minister arrange that plums from, say, the south-east part of the country shall come direct to South Wales and not go through the bottleneck of the London market?
The West Midland area contains 30 per cent. of the total acreage of plums in the country. This is considerably higher than the proportion of the population there to that of the whole country. In fact some plums will have to go out of the West Midland area in order to supply areas elsewhere.
The initial proposals covering the Control of the main apple crop are embodied in the Maximum Price Order which came into operation on 2nd August, and plans are being discussed for the distribution of stored apples later in the year. The needs of South Wales will be fully borne in mind.