HC Deb 18 March 1937 vol 321 cc2262-3
78. Colonel Sir Edward Ruggles-Brise

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he will state by means of an index figure or otherwise the relative productive capacity of the United Kingdom as regards foodstuffs in the years 1914 to 1936, respectively?

Mr. W. S. Morrison

There is no method of measuring the total productive capacity of agricultural land as distinguished from the total output. I am giving information relating to the output of home-produced foodstuffs in reply to the next question on the Paper.

Mr. Macquisten

Is it not the case that the producers are getting so priest-ridden by marketing boards that they are giving up working on the soil?

79. Sir E. Ruggles-Brise

asked the Minister of Agriculture the total volume and value of home-produced foodstuffs in the years 1914 and 1936, respectively.

Mr. Morrison

As the answer consists of a table of figures, I propose, with my hon. and gallant Friend's permission, to circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the reply:

been or will be issued to county councils with a view to ascertaining the steps which their agricultural committees are

prepared to take towards increasing the food supply of their localities as part of their measures of Defence?

Mr. Morrison

I do not contemplate the issue of any provisional instructions or questionnaire of the kind indicated by the hon. Member, and I would refer him to the answer which I gave to the hon. Member for Central Southwark (Mr. Day) on 11th March.

82. Colonel Ponsonby

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he will set up a Departmental Committee to investigate all the steps which were taken during the last War to increase the country's food supplies, with special consideration to the mistakes which were then made?

Mr. Morrison

The information referred to by my hon. and gallant Friend is already available to the Government and is being taken into account in the Government's consideration of the problems of food production in time of war. I do not, therefore, think it necessary to set up a committee such as is suggested.

Lieut.-Colonel Acland-Troyte

Are we to take it that the Government policy is not to increase the food supplies produced in this country?

Mr. Morrison

No, my hon. and gallant Friend must not think that.

Sir A. Knox

Is the Department doing anything to prepare for this eventuality, or only giving it consideration?

Mr. Morrison

The matter is receiving very careful consideration.