HC Deb 08 June 1931 vol 253 cc611-2
52. Sir W. DAVISON

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that, notwithstanding the existing butter famine in Russia, many thousands of barrels of Russian butter have recently arrived in London and are being sold at from 10½d. to 11½d. per pound; what action is being taken by the Board of Agriculture to protect the interests of British farmers in this matter; and whether he can assure the House that none of such Russian butter is mixed with British butter and sold to the public as British farmhouse butter?


Butter has been regularly imported into this country from Russia both before and since the War. The quantity imported in 1930 was 165,000 cwts., which was about 52 per cent. of the average importation for the preceding five years. The quantity of Russian butter imported into Great Britain and Northern Ireland during the first four months of this year amounted to only about one-fifth of the quantity imported during the same months last year. Figures for May, 1931, are not yet available, but the quantities sold at Smithfield have been insufficient to enable the Ministry's reporter to quote a price for any week from 2nd April to 4th June. In view of these facts, the remainder of the question does not appear to arise.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that I have not asked for any of the information that he has very kindly given. I asked whether Russian butter has been sold in our market at 11½d. per lb. Does he not know that no British farmer can compete against this price, and is it not the duty of the Board to protect British farmers? What is the right hon. Gentleman doing?


All the information I gave was that the importations in May and lately are so small that we have not been able to fix a price.

Lieut.-Colonel ACLAND - TROYTE

Will the right hon. Gentleman take any action to prevent the importation of noxious insects in this butter?


May I have an answer to the last part of my question?


Mr. Wells.