HC Deb 23 July 1934 vol 292 cc1516-7
14. Sir A. KNOX

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, as the imports of eggs from the following countries in the first six months of 1934 showed an increase as compared with imports in 1933, he will recommend adequate protection for the home industry, either by tariff, or quota, or both: Denmark, Finland, Poland, Netherlands, Turkey, China, Brazil, and Chile?


As I have already stated, the first six months of 1934 include a period outside the six months covered by the arrangement proposed by His Majesty's Government for a standstill in imports of eggs in shell. This period of six months began on 15th March, 1934, and since that date the total imports of eggs show no increase as compared with 1933 and indeed to 11th July show a decrease of the order of 7 per cent. The action to be taken to regulate imports after 14th September next, when the six months come to an end, is now under consideration.


Does my right hon. Friend know the very great anxiety among home poultry producers in this country, and would it not be better to impose a quota now instead of waiting for the necessity to give a subsidy from the taxpayers' money?


I think anxiety would be increased by a question such as my hon. and gallant Friend has asked, suggesting that there has been an increase since the Government took action, when in fact there has been no increase.

Lieut.-Colonel ACLAND-TROYTE

Does my right hon. Friends' statement apply to all the countries mentioned? Has not the supply from Turkey increased during the last three months?


I was careful to say that the total imports are so much decreased, and that is what concerns the market in this country.

Duchess of ATHOLL

Is it not the case that, while the total quantity of imports of eggs in shell has decreased, the average price at which these quantities have come in, compared with last year and the year before, has decreased very much more, and that the question of price is really much more important that the question of quantity?


That does not arise from the original question. I was asked about the quantities, and they do not show an increase.


Does the right hon. Gentleman think that the protection given to the industry at present is sufficient?