§ Sir G. Mitcheson
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that when the Potato Marketing Board was established it was indicated that it would not interfere with the existing machinery of distribution, but that during recent months the board has caused confusion in the markets by buying and selling potatoes on its own account and by declining to grant licences to reputable mer- 1144W chants who have been engaged in the business for many years; and whether steps can be taken, in the public interest, to deal with this disturbance?
§ Mr. Ramsbotham
I have been asked to reply. The Potato Marketing Board are empowered under their scheme to exercise certain functions in relation to marketing, including the purchase of potatoes deemed to be surplus to the requirements of human consumption and the authorisation of merchants to or through whom registered producers may sell. My right hon. Friend is informed that, in the exercise of these powers, the board have had regard to the desirability of interfering as little as possible with established channels of distribution and he is not aware of any change in this position in recent months.