HC Deb 19 June 1933 vol 279 cc466-7

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that the weight of beef and mutton imported in May, 1933, was 10 per cent. greater than in May, 1932, and that the imports for the first five months of 1933 are greater than in the corresponding period of 1932; and, in these circumstances, what further steps he proposes to take to safeguard the British livestock industry?


I am aware that total imports of beef and of mutton and lamb last month were greater than in May, 1932. Larger supplies of frozen beef from Australia and New Zealand were chiefly responsible for the increase in total imports of beef. Imports of chilled and frozen beef from foreign countries showed a decline. In the case of mutton and lamb, the increase is largely attributable to supplies from Australia. Over the five months' period, January to May, the total imports of beef were less, but imports of mutton and lamb were greater than in the corresponding period of 1932. Imports of chilled beef, in particular, showed a decline of over 18,000 tons. In the case of mutton and lamb, much larger quantities were received from Australia. I would again ask my hon. Friend to bear in mind that the undertakings of Australia and New Zealand relate to the year 1933 as a whole.


In view of the progressive increase in the imports month by month compared with last year, does not the situation indicate that we shall not be getting any meat at all in the last month of the year?


If that is so, no doubt the price of home produce will show a very beneficial rise.

Brigadier-General CLIFTON BROWN

Is the Minister aware that the price of fat bullocks last week was £5 6s. less than a year ago, and £3 4s. less than last November, and, in view of his efforts, will he not do something to raise prices?


Is not this question an indirect attack upon the Ottawa Agreements?

Lieut.-Colonel ACLAND-TROYTE

Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that it does not make any difference to the British farmer whether his market is destroyed by Empire produce or foreign produce, and will he take some steps to improve prices to the home producer?


Is it not the case that unless these quantities of beef and mutton are allowed to come in, our Dominions will be unable to pay the debts that they owe to us?