HC Deb 16 February 1920 vol 125 cc517-8
71. Lieut.-Colonel W. GUINNESS

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Agriculture whether, in view of the exceptional suitability of East Anglia for growing sugar beet, the Board of Agriculture are taking any steps to bring about the reopening of the Cantley sugar factory; whether this factory now contains the most up-to-date sugar-refining machinery in Great Britain; and whether there is any probability of this factory being dismantled and the machinery sent over to Holland.


The object which the Ministry have in view is to ascertain whether the sugar beet industry can be made profitable in England, and they consider it essential to carry out an experiment under the most favourable conditions. For this purpose the Kelham Estate has been secured on which it is proposed in due course to erect a factory to deal with the sugar beet produced in the area and one which will be equipped on the most approved lines. In the present state of the public funds there is little chance of obtaining further grants from the Government should the contemplated experiment prove unsuc- cessful, and the Ministry are not disposed to prejudice the scheme at the outset by the purchase of a factory the design and situation of which are, in their opinion, unsuitable. The Ministry have been advised that the machinery at Cantley is not of the most efficient type, and that to bring the equipment of the factory up to modern requirements would involve a very heavy expenditure. The Ministry have no information regarding the dismantling of the factory and the transfer of the machinery to Holland.

Lieut.-Colonel GUINNESS

How soon will the factory at Kelham be ready—will it be this year?


I cannot say exactly, but I hope very soon.