§ 77. Mr. MACQUISTEN
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture whether the difference between the tender of the French firm who received the order for machinery for Home-Grown Sugar, Limited, and the two nearest British tenders is largely made up of the difference between the exchanges; if he will state how much of the difference is due thereto and how much to the alleged difference in price; and whether it is the settled policy of the Ministry to foster agriculture at the expense of other industries?
Sir A. BOSCAWEN
The directors of the company gave the order to the French firm mainly on account of their special experience of beet sugar factories which the competing British firms do not possess. The difference of price was, therefore, not the primary consideration, but I may point out that the estimates were received before the recent rise in the rate of exchange took place. In reply to the last part of the question, I may say that, in view of the financial interest of the Government in the company, they would not be entitled to endanger the success of the company in order to foster other industries.
§ Mr. MACQUISTEN
The right hon. Gentleman has not answered my question as to how far the difference is due to the difference on exchange. Is he not aware that for 150 years there have been sugar machinery merchants in Glasgow making machinery when the French people were only eating honey, and did not know anything about sugar machinery?