§ 80. Sir W. de FRECE
asked the Minister of Agriculture if he can give the amount paid per ton to sugar-beet growers by the sugar manufacturers in this country; and if he has comparative figures for the amounts per ton paid to sugar-beet growers in all other European countries where sugar beet is grown?
The price in the beet contract varies according to the average sale price of sugar, with a minimum agreed with the National Farmers' Union of 54s per ton delivered at the factory in the case of a period contract and 49s. per ton for a one-year contract. The price, whether calculated on the average sale price of sugar or at the minimum price, whichever is the greater, varies according to the sugar content in the beets delivered, at the rate of 2s. 6d. for each 1 per cent. above or below 15½ per cent. sugar content. The price in European countries also varies to some extent according to the sugar content in the beets and the average sale price of sugar, but, from the best available information, the ruling figure would appear to be from 25s. to 30s. per ton.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, taking out an average of the sugar percentage, 13 to 14 per cent. of the amount of the subsidy that the Government are paying is actually more per ton on the sugar beet than the farmer is getting?
Naturally it was expected that the factories would need a subsidy to enable them to face the expense of putting up plant in a new industry.
Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that we are, therefore, providing out of the subsidy the whole of the raw material for this industry free of charge?