HC Deb 05 July 1926 vol 197 cc1591-2

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, considering that a subsidy of over £70,000 was paid during the past season in respect of British sugar molasses containing less than 70 per cent. and not more than 50 per cent. of sugar, he will inquire whether this waste of sugar in the molasses and also a considerable amount of the subsidy paid can be saved by more efficient manufacture; and whether he is aware that molasses with an extra 2 per cent. of sugar is used for the purpose of feeding stock, just as is the cheaper molasses on which a lower subsidy is paid because the residue of sugar is smaller?


The subsidy on molasses cannot be separated from the subsidy on sugar; it forms part of a total measure of assistance granted by Parliament to the industry as a whole. As a certain amount of sweetening matter must always remain in the residues of sugar manufacture it cannot be described as "waste." If the manufacturer secures a higher quantity of sugar from the beet juice, he secures a larger amount of subsidy on the sugar he makes, but a less amount of subsidy on the residues. I have no power to interfere with the manu- facturer's liberty in the conduct of his business, nor with his freedom in his choice of the market for his residues.


Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that by wasting an additional 2 per cent. of extractable sugar the factories are able to get a higher subsidy, having regard to both sides of the production?


They get a higher subsidy for molasses but a lower subsidy for sugar.