§ 50. Mr. SUMMERSBY
asked the Minister of Agriculture what is the number of farmers who have grown sugar-beet and benefited by the sugar-beet subsidy during the latest period for which figures are available; how many farmers have similarly benefited by the provisions of the Wheat Act; and by what respective total amounts they have so benefited during the last year for which figures are available?
§ Mr. ELLIOT
The number of sugar-beet growers in 1933 was 39,828 and the total payments made by factories in that year to growers for their beet amounted to approximately £6,500,000. The subsidy is paid to manufacturers of home-grown beet-sugar and any apportionment of the subsidy between factories and growers would necessarily be highly speculative, since to arrive at the growers' share one would have to estimate what would have been the beet price had no assistance been afforded to the home-grown sugar industry. In the cereal year ended 31st July, 1933, deficiency payments under the Wheat Act amounting to about £4,500,000 were made to 76,500 registered wheat growers in the United Kingdom.
Does not the right hon. Gentleman think it would be the better policy to pay the farmers outright, say £100,000, than go on with this subsidy, which was started by the Labour party?