HC Deb 03 March 1919 vol 113 cc17-9
32 and 73. Mr. CAUTLEY

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Agriculture (1) whether he can now announce the steps the Government are taking to ensure to farmers a market at the present controlled price for the 1918 wheat which they were compelled to grow;

(2) whether, in consequence of the millers being filled up with the foreign wheat which he has put on the market, farmers are unable to sell the 1918 wheat which they were compelled to grow, or soil it at prices from 5s. to 8s. below the present controlled price; whether this is causing great hardship; and whether he can see his way to temporarily keep back foreign wheat, or to order that millers shall mix with it a fixed percentage of English wheat, or take some other steps to enable farmers to sell their 1918 wheat at the present controlled price?


I have been asked to reply, and will answer these questions together. On the average, approximately 30 per cent. of home-grown wheat is being used in all the mills in the United Kingdom at the present moment, and at this rate all the wheat grown will be required in due course. The present controlled price, i.e.,., maximum price, a mean of 76s., is considerably in excess of the price guaranteed by Statute to the 1918 harvest, namely, 55s. per quarter of 480 lbs., or 57s. 9d. per 504 lbs., the latter being the weight fixed for maximum prices applicable to the 1918 crop. If the hon. Member will inform me of any case in which hardship is alleged, I shall be very glad to have it investigated.


Will the right hon. Gentleman say what prices the Department are now getting for the American wheat put on the market?


I must ask for notice of that question.

Colonel C. LOWTHER

Will the right hon. Gentleman say whether the Preliminary Report of the Agricultural Sub-Committee appointed to consider this question will be discussed by the House?


I should like notice of that also.


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Agriculture when he will be able to make a statement of the Government's policy as to the price for 1920 wheat; and whether he will bear in mind that such statement should be made in the next two or three weeks so as to enable farmers to decide how much, if any, land they will set aside for fallowing and preparing for wheat to be sown next autumn?


The only guarantee that can be given at present is that provided for in Section 2 (1) of the Corn Production Act, 1917.

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