HC Deb 22 March 1932 vol 263 cc864-6
42. Mr. N. MACLEAN

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether steps are being taken to obtain from factories in receipt of the beet-sugar subsidy more accurate estimates of their output and subsidy requirements; and whether, where it is found that the output has been under-estimated, the subsidy will be paid only upon the original output estimated?

The MINISTER of AGRICULTURE (Sir John Gilmour)

I am satisfied that the estimates of output and subsidy requirements submitted by the beet sugar factories from time to time are as accurate as is possible in the circumstances. As regards the second part of the question, even if such a course were desirable I have no power to withhold payment of subsidy on sugar actually produced from home-grown beet.


asked the Minister of Agriculture the number of factories in receipt of the beet-sugar subsidy in which sugar from abroad was melted down last year; the total quantity of such sugar; whether they received any subsidy upon it: and, if so, how much?


During the 1930–31 "off"-season, 11 British beet-sugar factories refined about 195,000 tons of imported raw sugar. The answer to the third part of the question is in the negative.


asked 'the Minister of Agriculture the total amount of beet-sugar subsidy paid to the latest convenient date; the amount retained by the companies; and the amount received by the farmers?


Payments of subsidy under the British Sugar (Subsidy) Act, 1925, and repayable advances under the British Sugar Industry (Assistance) Act, 1931, up to and including 19th March, 1932, amount to £24,331,333. I am unable to say precisely in what pro-potion the growers and the factories respectively have participated in these payments.


Could not the right hon. Gentleman obtain some information relating to the proportions in which these two parties receive the subsidy?


Only very rough estimates can he made, and I am not in a position to make a definite statement.

57. Mr. GROVES

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in view of the statement by the Committee on National Expenditure that the total State assistance to the beet-sugar industry during the year 1930–31 worked out at nearly £300 per man and that the subsidy thereto is fixed by law until 1934, he will consider the desirability of reducing the duty rebate to home-grown sugar in such a way as to benefit the national finances and to eliminate those activities of the beet-sugar factories which could be carried out by non-subsidised refineries?


I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given yesterday to a question by the hon. and gallant Member for the Isle of Wight (Captain P. Macdonald) on this subject.

59. Mr. GROVES

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury what were the duties on sugar exceeding 98 per cent. polarisation imported from foreign and Colonial sources, respectively, in 1924 before the Sugar Subsidy Act was brought into force; what was the rate of those duties in 1925 after the said Act had been passed; and what are those duties to-day?


I will send the hon. Member a statement giving the figures asked for.

69. Commander MARSDEN

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether his attention has been called to the quantities of raw sugar imported into this country recently for refining by beet-sugar factories; and whether he can state the amount of such imports during each of the past four weeks, together with the comparable imports for the same period in 1931?


I understand that the total imports of raw sugar into this country have considerably increased during the last few months, but I have no information as to the extent to which this sugar is being refined by the beet-sugar factories.