HC Deb 25 January 1937 vol 319 cc559-60
24. Mr. Hall-Caine

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware of the grave anxiety with which the poultry farmers and smallholders of the country view the present outlook of the egg and poultry industry; and whether, in view of the fact that feeding costs were at least 30 per cent, higher and imports of foreign eggs much heavier in 1936 than in 1935, and egg prices for January were at the lowest level for many years, he can take immediate action to check the extra flow of imports?

Mr. W. S. Morrison

I am aware of the representations that have been made to the effect mentioned in the first part of the question. As regards the second part, so far as the question of additional duties on imports of eggs from foreign countries is concerned, I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave on Thursday last to a question by my right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Ripon (Major Hills). My hon. Friend will appreciate that the recent fall in prices has had the effect of increasing the ad valorem incidence of the existing duties to from 20 per cent, to 25 per cent. There is no power to regulate imports of eggs quantitatively, the position in regard to which, as my hon. Friend will be aware, is governed by the provisions of Section 1 (1) of the Agricultural Marketing Act, 1933.

Captain Heilgers

Cannot my right hon. Friend ask the President of the Board of Trade to take steps to revise the voluntary "gentleman's agreement" quoted?

Mr. Morrison

All these matters are under consideration.

Mr. Rhys Davies

Is it possible for the right hon. Gentleman in any way to prevent the very serious increase in the cost of the incidence of feeding stuff?

Mr. Morrison

That is a matter which depends on weather conditions more than on anything I can do.

Mr. George Griffiths

Does not the foreigner pay on all this stuff?

26. Mr. Hall-Caine

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether his attention has been called to the recently announced discovery by the university of British Columbia of a cure for neuro-lymphomatosis, which caused a loss of £4,000,000 to the poultry industry in Great Britain last year; and whether any action is to be taken in the matter?

Mr. Morrison

I have seen the brief announcement relating to this discovery that appeared a short time ago in the Press. As regards the second part of the question, we must, I think, await the full account of the work on which the claim is based.