HC Deb 25 July 1938 vol 338 cc2701-2
53. Sir A. Knox

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he can now state by what extent it will be possible to reduce the imports of mutton from the Dominions in the current year?

59. Mr. Ivor Guest

asked the Minister of Agriculture the nature of the negotiations which have, within the last six months, taken place with the Governments of the Dominions importing lamb and mutton to this country for a reduction of their normal supplies?

Mr. W. S. Morrison

As in previous years, discussions have been taking place during the current year with representatives of the Governments of the Commonwealth of Australia and New Zealand as to their estimated shipments of mutton and lamb to the United Kingdom. With regard to the progress of these discussions, I would refer my hon. Friends to the statement I made during the Debate on 13th July. I would add that landings in the third quarter of this year are expected to include an appreciably larger proportion than usual of ewe mutton, which does not compete with the home product, and that arrivals of lamb are likely to be lower than in the corresponding quarter of 1937.

Sir A. Knox

Has the Minister of Agriculture considered the possibility of making an announcement on this subject soon in view of the disastrous straits of the industry and the impending sheep sales? Will he also take into account that a mere reduction of 8 per cent. on imports will not be sufficient to restore prosperity to the industry?

Mr. G. Griffiths

Will the Minister also take into account that a lot of people cannot buy British meat at all and that if you prevent the other coming in they will be starved to death?

Mr. Morrison

I will consider whether there is a statement I can usefully make on the matter.