HC Deb 19 March 1931 vol 249 cc2139-40
50 and 52. Mr. W. B. TAYLOR

asked the Minister of Agriculture, (1) whether, in view of the necessity for removing the deadlock in sugar-beet cultivation caused by the refusal of four beet-sugar factories in East Anglia to pay the price agreed upon in the national settlement, he will say what action is contemplated to give the growers the opportunity to cultivate that crop at the national price in the present season;

(2) what steps he proposes to take to bring the Anglo-Dutch combine up to the terms of the national settlement agreed to by the Government, the National Farmers' Union, and the majority of the beet-sugar factories in relation to beet-sugar prices, thereby enabling growers in East Anglia to proceed with these contracts and cropping in the present season?


I can assure my hon. Friend that I have used all the influence at my command to induce the Anglo-Dutch Group of factories to make an offer to beet growers of the same kind as the offer made by the majority of factories. The Group has not seen its way to do so, and I regret to say that I have no power to compel them to do so.


Has my right hon. Friend received representations from the National Farmers' Union with regard to the emergency of this case?


Yes, Sir, I have received quite a large number.


Will the Minister of Agriculture consider coming to this House for powers to deal with the situation if he is unable to find any other way out of this dangerous deadlock?


That question is being examined.


Is the right bon. Gentleman aware that the Anglo-Dutch factories are proposing to cut large quantities of Dutch grown beet, and that they are only able to do so because of the subsidy paid to them in the past from the taxpayers' money, and will he see that these Dutch factories do not use money paid by the British taxpayer to further a foreign industry.


With regard to those companies the position is most unsatisfactory and I can only say that we are examining the possibilities very closely.

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