Frozen Fish (Price)

Oral Answers to Questions — Food Supplies – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th July 1949.

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Photo of Mr William Shepherd Mr William Shepherd , Bucklow 12:00 am, 27th July 1949

asked the Minister of Food what contracts he has entered into with Iceland for the supply of frozen cod for delivery to the United Kingdom, giving the period and the prices arranged.

Photo of Dr Edith Summerskill Dr Edith Summerskill , Fulham West

Under a contract with the Icelandic Government made in April, 1949, we have agreed to buy 10,000 tons of cod fillets and 4,500 tons of other varieties of frozen white fish for delivery between April and the end of this year. It would not be in the public interest to state the prices paid.

Photo of Mr William Shepherd Mr William Shepherd , Bucklow

As this country is practically the only one concerned in the supply of frozen fish to this country, what conceivable reason can there be for withholding the price? If the right hon. Lady will not tell us the price, is she prepared to say that the price is no higher than the maximum controlled price for fresh fish landed in this country?

Photo of Dr Edith Summerskill Dr Edith Summerskill , Fulham West

The hon. Gentleman, who knows a great deal about this trade, should know that we get frozen fish also from Denmark. That is one reason why we do not wish to disclose the price.

Photo of Mr William Williams Mr William Williams , Heston and Isleworth

Will my right hon. Friend say whether this was the "cod" which was on sale at Wolverhampton last Saturday?

Photo of Mr William Shepherd Mr William Shepherd , Bucklow

Would the right hon. Lady answer the second part of my question, which was whether she would give an undertaking that the price paid is not higher than the maximum price for fresh fish of a similar kind landed in this country?

Photo of Dr Edith Summerskill Dr Edith Summerskill , Fulham West

I am afraid I cannot give that undertaking.

Photo of Sir Edward Keeling Sir Edward Keeling , Twickenham

Remembering the cod we had from Iceland during the war, would the Ministry of Food give an assurance that this new Icelandic cod will taste less like dishcloth?

Photo of Mr William Shepherd Mr William Shepherd , Bucklow

asked the Minister of Food what price is guaranteed to British producers of frozen cod.

Photo of Dr Edith Summerskill Dr Edith Summerskill , Fulham West

British producers of quick frozen cod and other white fish buy and sell at market prices, subject to the provisions of the Fish Maximum Prices Order, and there is no guaranteed price. We assist quick freezers by payment of storage and certain transport charges and by a direct contribution to their operating costs.

Photo of Mr William Shepherd Mr William Shepherd , Bucklow

If my assumption is right that the right hon. Lady is paying Iceland higher prices than the price of fresh landed fish, on what principle does she guarantee to a foreign country a price which she refuses to guarantee to a British producer?

Photo of Dr Edith Summerskill Dr Edith Summerskill , Fulham West

It is a little difficult to make any contract with a foreign country unless we specify the price. The hon. Gentleman will know, if he reads my answer, that we are being very generous to this quite new industry. Surely he is not asking for more control?

Photo of Mr William Shepherd Mr William Shepherd , Bucklow

Whatever justification there may have been for this exceptional contract, will the right hon. Lady give the House an assurance that she will not give to a foreign producer a higher price than is guaranteed to any British producer of a similar product.

Photo of Dr Edith Summerskill Dr Edith Summerskill , Fulham West

I cannot give any assurance.