HC Deb 22 December 1938 vol 342 cc3088-9
60. Sir Henry Morris-Jones

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, in view of the present serious plight of many engaged in agriculture in this country, he will consider granting to those branches of the industry most affected some immediate financial assistance pending a further review by the Government of the various measures passed to assist the industry, in the light of their success or failure?

Mr. W. S. Morrison

As regards financial assistance to the industry, I have nothing to add to the replies which I gave to the hon. Member for Don Valley (Mr. T. Williams) on 9th December and to my hon. Friends the Members for Colchester (Mr. Lewis) and East Fife (Mr. Henderson Stewart) on 15th December last. I would, however, draw the attention of my hon. Friend to the announcement which I made on Tuesday last in reply to a question asked by the hon. Member for Don Valley on the subject of the control of imports of mutton and lamb.

Sir H. Morris-Jones

Cannot my right hon. Friend again reconsider this matter, in view of the very problematical effect of the regulations which he has brought before the House in connection with imports of sheep and lamb, and which, in the opinion of many people, will not produce an effect for many months?

Mr. De la Bère

What is it that is arresting progress now? Is not my right hon. Friend aware of the widespread exasperation that exists throughout the country, and of the fact that, if he is still to stand, he cannot stand still?

Mr. Malcolm MacMillan

Is it not the case that the section of the industry that is most affected by its present serious plight is that of the workers in the industry; and will the right hon. Gentleman give some assistance to them?

Mr. Morrison

I am aware of all these considerations. With regard to the supplementary question of my hon. Friend the Member for Denbigh (Sir H. Morris-Jones), these matters are always under consideration and review, but his question was a definite one directed to a specific point, and I could not be more precise in my answer than I have been in the one I have given.

Mr. Buchanan

In view of the severity of the weather we are now experiencing, will the right hon. Gentleman see if anything additional can be done for the workers? Will he consult with the Minister of Labour, and see whether additional allowances cannot be made to the agricultural workers, who in some cases are suffering very acutely at the present time?

Mr. Morrison

That is quite a different question. I hope the hon. Member will put it down.

Mr. Attlee

(by Private Notice) asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he has any statement to make as to the agricultural situation?

Mr. Morrison

The Government fully recognise the deep concern that is being felt at the present time about some aspects of the agricultural situation, and share it. They are undertaking a review of the situation and they have before them in that connection the considered views which have been expressed by responsible agricultural bodies, including the statements issued by the National Farmers' Union of England and Wales and the National Farmers' Union and Chamber of Agriculture of Scotland. It will be appreciated that in their review the Government are bound to take into account other considerations besides those which are naturally most prominent in the minds of agriculturists, but the urgency and importance of the problem are fully appreciated and the review is being continued throughout the Christmas Recess. At an appropriate stage, which it is hoped will be at an early date, the Government propose to discuss with the National Farmers' Unions of England and Scotland the particular schemes which those organisations have formulated.

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