Oral Answers to Questions — Prices and Consumer Protection – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 2nd February 1976.

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Photo of Mr Neil Marten Mr Neil Marten , Banbury 12:00 am, 2nd February 1976

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection whether she will take action to reduce the price of Southern Hemisphere apples from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa during spring and early summer.

The Minister of State, Department of Prices and Consumer Protection (Mr. Alan Williams):

If the hon. Member has evidence that distributors' margins in the United Kingdom for Southern Hemisphere apples are excessive, I shall be glad if he will let me see it.

Questions of the access of overseas supplies to the United Kingdom are for my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

Photo of Mr Neil Marten Mr Neil Marten , Banbury

As the Minister is, nevertheless, a member of the Government, is he aware that the Commission of the European Economic Community, and particularly the Dutch Government, are pressing for a curb, and even for a ban, on the importation of Southern Hemisphere apples from Australia, South Africa and New Zealand? Will he get his right hon. Friend to give an assurance that the British consumer will have an adequate tariff-free supply of Southern Hemisphere apples, rather than having to have the rather more expensive and rather dull Golden Delicious apples from the apple mountain?

Mr. Alan Williams:

I am aware of the representations that certain Common Market Governments have made. I am also aware that the Market is approaching producers about a possible voluntary restraint on supplies to the EEC. At this stage we are having discussions about the implications of this matter with our colleagues in the Ministry of Agriculture. Fisheries and Food.