HC Deb 27 November 1933 vol 283 cc504-5
27. Sir P. HURD

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he has been able to come to an understanding with the Dominion Governments regarding the quantitative regulation of imports of cheese, butter, and other dairy produce; and, if not, by what alternative means he proposes to safeguard the British milk reorganisation scheme?


As regards the first part of the question, I would refer to the replies I gave to the right hon. Member for South Molton (Mr. Lambert) on 13th November, a copy of which I am sending to my hon. Friend. As regards the second part of the question, the matter is receiving my earnest attention. I have arranged to discuss it with representatives of the Milk Marketing Board this afternoon.


May I take it from the Minister's statement that no understanding has yet been reached on this matter?


Yes, Sir.


asked the Minister of Agriculture, in view of the increasing imports of frozen beef, mutton, butter and cheese from Australia and New Zealand, in both of which Dominions the currency is depreciated in relation to sterling, and seeing that lie is prevented by the Ottawa Agreements from taking action in the interest of the home agricultural producer, whether he will say at what period those agreements relating to agricultural imports will lapse?


The provisions of the Ottawa Agreements securing free entry into the United Kingdom of butter and cheese from Australia and New Zealand are due to expire on 19th August, 1935, while the undertaking that no restriction will be placed on imports of meat from those Dominions is due to terminate on 30th June, 1934.


Has the right hon. Gentleman intimated to the Dominion Governments that this unrestricted competition, fostered by depreciated currency cannot go on without ruining British farmers?


It was on account of exactly that sort of difficulty that the Chairman of the Milk Marketing Board made a special visit to New Zealand, and the visit had good effects in removing misunderstanding.