HC Deb 21 November 1917 vol 99 cc1180-1
67. Mr. CLANCY

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food with reference to the Potato Order limiting the bonus to be paid to producers by confining that bonus to those selling 4 tons and upwards, whether such a Regulation will cut out from participation in the benefit three-fourths of all the small farmers of Ireland, who themselves comprise the great majority of Irish farmers; if so, what is the reason for such a discrimination against that class; and whether the Regulation will be altered?


The Government guarantee of £6 a ton, made in the early part of this year, was expressly limited to potatoes delivered in lots of 4 tons or more, The Food Controller has given a liberal interpretation to this guarantee by providing that, for the purpose of the bonus recently announced, potatoes shall be deemed to be delivered in a lot of 4 tons or more if the quantity delivered by a grower to a single purchaser in any consecutive period of seven days equals or exceeds 4 tons. It is not proposed to extend the bonus to cases to which the original guarantee did not apply.


Is it not the fact that the small farmers who could not produce more than 4 tons, and are now selling below the price fixed, were informed last spring that they would receive the bonus that was due to other people?


The guarantee clearly could not apply to small farmers, but only to those farmers who were capable of sowing and growing potatoes in quantities that brought them within the Order, that is, by turning out more than 4 tons.


Will small farmers of this description be allowed to pool their growths in order to come within the Order?


That is a point worthy of consideration.

Forward to