§ 19. Mr. LYNN
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that owing to Government control there was a reduction of Irish acreage under flax of 50,000 acres last year; and whether, in view of the great scarcity of flax in all parts of the world, he will remove the control on flax in Ireland immediately so that farmers may be encouraged to put more land under flax this year?
§ Sir A. GEDDES
I am afraid I cannot agree with the suggestion made in the first part of the question. My information is that the area under flax in Ireland was in 1018 approximately 147,000 acres, and at the end of that year the Government were advised that, in view of the uncertainty as to the future of flax prices, the acreage planted in 1919 would probably fall to 50,000 acres unless the Government guaranteed a minimum price to the growers. That guarantee was given with the result that the area under flax in 1919 was approximately 107,000 acres. It has already been announced that His Majesty's Government do not propose to exercise any control or to give any guarantee in respect of the 1920 crop.