§ 66. Mr. OUTHWAITE
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he can state the wheat shortage in France as recently announced in a Ministerial statement; and, in view of the 1273 shortage, will he explain how it is that bread is 25 per cent. cheaper in France than in England?
I have no figures available which will enable me to give any information relating to the shortage of wheat in France. One important reason why bread is cheaper in France than in the United Kingdom is that France normally grows about seven-eighths of her whole wheat requirements, while the United Kingdom only grows one-fifth.
§ Mr. OUTHWAITE
Is it not a fact that a Ministerial statement has been made in France showing a tremendous shortage in that country, which must bring about the same conditions in this country; and is not the high price of bread here due to the enormous price British farmers and dealers in wheat are extorting from the community, which is not permitted in France?
§ Mr. PRINGLE
What proportion was actually grown in France this year, and what proportion was actually brought in British shipping at Blue Book rates to France?
§ Mr. PRINGLE
Is the hon. Gentleman not aware that the price is determined not by what is grown in normal years, but by what has been grown this year in France?
§ 67. Mr. OUTHWAITE
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he can make any statement as to the prospects of the winter and spring sowings of wheat in the United Kingdom as affected by climatic conditions?
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the BOARD of AGRICULTURE (Sir R. Winfrey)
Information on this subject, so far as England and Wales is concerned, is being collected and analysed in the Department. It will be published in the Monthly Agricultural Report of the Board of Agriculture, which will be issued next week. For information as to Scotland and Ireland, I must refer my hon. Friend to the Secretary for Scotland and the Department of Agriculture at Dublin, respectively.
§ 70. Mr. OUTHWAITE
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether his attention has been called to the fact that in the Chicago 1274 wheat pit, on 29th March, quotations for May delivery jumped to 1.98⅞ dollars a bushel, the highest price since 1864; that this was due to reports of damage to winter wheat fields in certain States owing to adverse weather conditions; and if he has any information he can convey regarding the prospects of wheat production in the United States and Canada for the current year?
It is a fact that the price of May wheat rose considerably in Chicago on the 29th March, and that the rise was caused by reports of unfavourable weather in the winter wheat region. As regards the prospects, the reports received are somewhat contradictory. The monthly Government Bureau Report of the condition of the crop will appear about the 8th instant, when more reliable information will be forthcoming.