HC Deb 01 November 1937 vol 328 cc533-4
35. Mr. Crowder

asked the Minister of Agriculture when he anticipates that, in accordance with the Government scheme of cheapening fertilisers, lime at half price will be available to members of the different allotment associations; and, if there is any delay, whether he will, in view of the present season of the year appropriate for its use, endeavour to expedite delivery?

Mr. W. S. Morrison

The Land Fertility Committee are considering the procedure to be followed by allotment associations whose members wish to take advantage of the facilities afforded by the Land Fertility Scheme, and hope to issue a memorandum on the subject at an early date.

Mr. Crowder

Are any special arrangements being made, or have any been made, with the Amalgamated Society of Allotment-holders? I understand they are having great difficulty in getting supplies?

Mr. Morrison

The intention of the scheme is that allotment-holders, if they combine to buy in 2-ton lots, should buy them with the advantage of the Government assistance and then redistribute the lime or slag to their members, but obviously that is a matter which requires a certain amount of detailed working out, and that is now in train. I hope that the conditions necessary for the operation of this arrangement will be completed at an early date.

Colonel Sir Charles MacAndrew

Will my right hon. Friend take some steps to increase the output of lime before he increases the size of his scheme, as I hear that farmers in Scotland are finding difficulty in getting supplies?

Mr. Morrison

I am aware that the great response to the Government's scheme for land fertility has led to a temporary difficulty in getting lime and slag. The whole question of supplies is under daily review by the Land Fertility Committee, and everything that it is possible to do will be done to increase the sources of supply.

Sir C. MacAndrew

Could my right hon. Friend do something by opening up disused lime kilns, of which there are very many in the country? It could be done very cheaply?

Mr. Morrison

Yes, Sir. That sort of consideration will, of course, have to be borne in mind. I hope, with the present demand for lime under this Government assistance, private firms may seize the opportunity of reopening many of those kilns which are now derelict.

Mr. R. Acland

Owing to the very great desirability of encouraging smallholdings will the Minister allow them to buy a rather less quantity at a time?

Mr. Morrison

No, Sir; I am afraid that in that matter we are bound by what is in the Act, but we will do everything we can to enable the necessary co-operation to be effected to secure the Government assistance in this matter. I entirely share the views of the hon. Gentleman that allotment-holders should have an opportunity of taking advantage of this scheme.