HC Deb 23 February 1937 vol 320 cc1815-7
29. Mr. Roland Robinson

asked the President of the Board of Trade how many bankruptcies have occurred in Great Britain during the past 12 months in poultry-farming concerns; how many of the bankrupt concerns have been in existence for three years or more; and how many of them had operated at a profit?

Mr. Runciman

Of the 14 poultry farmers in England and Wales who became bankrupt in 1936, nine had been in business for three years or more, and in five of these cases there is information showing that they had at some time operated at a profit. I regret that corresponding information in regard to Scotland is not readily available.

Sir Joseph Lamb

Is the president of the Board of Trade aware that large numbers of small ones do not go bankrupt, but simply fade out?

61. Mr. R. Robinson

asked the Minister of Agriculture the chief causes of bankruptcies among poultry-farming concerns during the past 12 months?

Mr. Runciman

I have been asked to reply. There were 14 cases of poultry farmers in England and Wales bankrupt in 1936. In the majority of these the debtors attributed their failure largely to losses through disease amongst their stock. In the remaining cases the causes given were mainly unconnected with their business of poultry farming.

Mr. Robinson

In view of the acute distress prevailing in the poultry farming industry, is it not time that Government consideration should be replaced by action?

Mr. Runciman

I was asked for the figures which I have given, and anything in the matter of policy should be addressed to the Minister of Agriculture.

Mr. Maxton

Can the Minister give the figures of bankruptcies among Scottish poultry farmers?

Mr. Runciman

I do not think that they are kept separately, but I will inquire.

Sir P. Hannon

In view of the very strong feeling throughout the country on the present position in the poultry industry, when will the President of the Board of Trade be able to make a statement to the House on the policy which His Majesty's Government intend to pursue to save this industry from bankruptcy?

Mr. Rathbone

Are these figures applicable to England and Wales only, or applicable to England, Wales and Scotland?

Mr. Runciman

England and Wales, but not Scotland or Northern Ireland.

Mr. de Rothschild

Can the right hon. Gentleman state the proportion of the failures to the total number of poultry farmers?