HC Deb 10 July 1934 vol 292 cc152-3

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Holland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia all subsidise their dairy exports to this country by stabilising the prices of produce for home consumption; and whether, in view of the fact that these countries have increased their butter supplies to Great Britain by 226,000 cwt. during the first five months of this year compared with the corresponding period of 1933, he will take steps to protect home and Empire producers from competition of this kind?

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of TRADE (Mr. Runciman)

Imports of butter from all sources were greater by 624,020 cwts. in the first five months of this year than in the corresponding period of last year. Imports from Empire countries increased by 433,666 cwts. and imports from foreign countries by 190,354 cwts. I am aware that export from a number of countries is assisted. As regards the home producer, my hon. Friend will be aware that the Milk Bill at present before Parliament contains provisions for guaranteeing a standard price for certain classes of manufacturing milk. In accordance with the provisions of the Ottawa Agreements a duty of 15s. per cwt. is levied on imports of butter from foreign countries.


May I ask the right hon. Gentleman, on behalf of British agriculture, if before he signs another trade agreement with a foreign country he will infuse a little Jewish blood into his veins?


is it not the case that the hon. Member who put the question supported the Ottawa Agreements, that imports from the Dominions are subsidised, and, further, that we are now subsidising skimmed milk that is being exported from this country?


Can my right hon. Friend say whether the agreement with Lithuania, that was, I believe, signed yesterday, contained any provision with regard to butter?


Do not the figures quoted by the right hon. Gentleman show that the policy of the Government is to enable the people of this country to consume more butter, whether manufactured at home or abroad?