HC Deb 21 August 1916 vol 85 cc2277-8

asked the Secretary of State for War, with reference to the wool clip, whether he is aware that the practice before the War was that wool buyers visited farms, inspected the clip, and bought and paid in cash, and that the practice under the Government scheme has been altered by providing that the clip shall first be examined at the farms, 75 per cent, of the Government price paid within six days, the wool then sent to Bradford, and the remaining 25 per cent, paid after further examination; if he can state what is the object of this new procedure; and, seeing that the Government buyers are mostly those who formerly bought for themselves, whether he will consider the advisability of letting them buy out-and-out, as before, and thus save the cost of duplicate examination and the expenses of administration?


The practice with regard to purchasing wool before the War differed from district to district. The Government scheme follows existing customs as closely as the altered circumstances will allow. A great deal of the wool will be cased and stored locally, and final payment will then be made. The object of deferring final payment until the wool has been properly classed in a warehouse is to ensure that, on the one hand, the farmers obtain the proper cash value-of their wool, and, on the other hand, that the Government secures full value for its money.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say when we are likely to have our wool bought? My wool has been in my granary since 2nd June, and I heard nothing more of it. Will it have to remain to the 2nd June next year?


I hope not. I can assure my right hon. Friend that large purchases are being made both in this country and in Ireland. It is naturally taking time to get the scheme into full working order. I hope that the wool of my right hon. Friend, as well as that of all other farmers, will be purchased before very long.


Will interest be paid to the right hon. Baronet on the value of his wool during the period he is waiting?


Yes, my right hon. Friend, like all other farmers, will be paid as from the 1st August.