HC Deb 28 October 1937 vol 328 cc249-50
72. Brigadier-General Brown

asked the Minister of Agriculture what steps are being taken to end the deadlock between the boards in the bacon industry; and when will new contract forms be introduced?

The Minister of Agriculture (Mr. W. S. Morrison)

Consultations with the Pigs and Bacon Marketing Boards regarding the future organisation of the bacon industry are at present proceeding, and I am riot, therefore, in a position to make any statement with regard to the re-introduction of the contract system for the supply of pigs to bacon curers.

Brigadier-General Brown

When does my right hon. Friend think he will be likely to make a statement?

Mr. Morrison

I would rather not make a forecast; the matter is not entirely in my hands.

Mr. T. Williams

Now that there is no marketing scheme for pigs or bacon in existence, are we to take it that there will be no further restriction of imports of bacon until a marketing scheme has been prepared?

Mr. Morrison

It is not strictly true that no marketing scheme for pigs or bacon is in existence. It is true that the contract scheme suffered a check last Christmas, but the Government intend to maintain the import regulations in order to give the industry time to reorganise itself.

Mr. Alexander

Is the Minister not aware that the serious breakdown in the pig scheme is leading to a steady deterioration in the quality of the pigs provided for bacon, and that in consequence the market for British bacon is being seriously depleted?

Mr. Morrison

I do not accept all the allegations of the right hon. Gentleman, but I realise the urgency of this problem, and am doing my best to arrive at a speedy solution of it.