HC Deb 30 November 1931 vol 260 cc751-4
37. Colonel ROPNER

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, in considering such assistance to agriculture as the Government is able to propose, he will, in all cases, take into account the system under which various foreign Governments subsidise agricultural exports to this country; and whether counteracting steps of a special nature will be recommended in all such cases?


I can assure the hon. and gallant Member that no relevant consideration will be overlooked by the Government in framing its agricultural policy.


Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that the Government have a free hand on this subject and are not bound by any proposals of parties previously?

39 and 40. Lord SCONE

asked the Minister of Agriculture (1) if he will be in a position to state the Government's policy in regard to oats before the House adjourns;

(2) Whether he is considering any control of imports of ordinary ware potatoes; and, if so, when he will be in a position to make a statement on the subject?


asked the Minister of Agriculture if in view of the special importance of the oat crop to Scotland, he will consider the prohibition of the importation of foreign oatmeal?

51. and 52. Mr. R. W. SMITH

asked the Minister of Agriculture (1) if and when he proposes to take powers to prohibit the importation of foreign oatmeal; and if it is the Government's intention to make certain that all oatmeal milled in this country is produced from home-grown oats;

(2) whether, before the House rises for th Christmas recess, he proposes to take powers to prevent the dumping of foreign oats?

54. Major MILNER

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he proposes to take any immediate steps to assist those engaged in pig and bacon, butter, cheese and milk production and in poultry keeping?


I would refer hon. Members to the statement which I made on Thursday last, in the concluding paragraph of which it was announced that aspects of agricultural policy other than those in respect of which decisions had been reached were receiving close attention with due appreciation of their importance. While I shall bear in mind the suggestions made in the questions under reply I can hold out no hope of being in a position to make a further statement before the House rises for the Christmas recess.


Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that a considerable amount of notice is required by the agricultural community so as to be able to plough the necessary land for sowing corn; that it is not a question of an alternative between oats and some other cereal but between oats and grass, and that. if adequate notice is not given a serious state of affairs will arise?


Will the Minister of Agriculture consider the question of dumping raised in my question? As it will be at least two months before the House sits again after we rise for the Christmas vacation, and dumping may occur in the intervening period, cannot he see his way to take the necessary powers now to stop such dumping if it should occur?


The Houe will be fully occupied in the next few days dealing with the legislation for which I am responsible, and I cannot hold out any hope of further legislation of this kind this side of Christmas.

41. Mr. HANNON

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether his attention has been called to the consignments of bacon from all parts of the Continent which have been recently imported into this country to the detriment of the farming and bacon-curing industries; and whether any immediate action is contemplated by His Majesty's Government to foster pig production in this country?


I am aware of the very heavy importation of bacon into this country for some months past. As regards the second part of the question, I am not in a position at present to add anything to the statement which I made on Thursday last.


Will the right hon. Gentleman not make any statement to the House in relation to dairy products and bacon products until the House assembles again?


That is so.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that if we produced our own eggs and bacon we could redress the trade balance?

44. Major MILNER

asked the Minister of Agriculture the approximate estimated cost of giving a guaranteed price of 40s. and 45s. per quarter, respectively, in respect of home-grown wheat of millable quality on the basis of the latest available figures of production and at its present market price?


Assuming that 75 per cent. of the home crop of wheat is of milling quality, I am advised that the difference between the value of that proportion of this year's crop taken at current prices and at 40s. and 45s. per quarter of 504 lbs. would be approxi- mately £1,640,000 in the first case, and £2,490,000 in the second case.


Is the House to understand that that will be the extra amount the consumer will have to pay in respect of the Government's quota proposals?