HC Deb 14 June 1938 vol 337 cc25-6
42. Mr. Lambert

asked the Minister of Agriculture what steps he has taken to improve the price of home-produced mutton and lamb?

58. Lieut. - Colonel Acland - Troyte

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he can yet make any statement with regard to the consultations which are taking place with the Dominions on the subject of the importation of mutton and lamb?

Mr. Ramsbotham

Prices of fat sheep in England and Wales have remained steady during the past three weeks, and the seasonal fall in the prices of fat lambs during the same period has been rather less than usual. The consultations with the representatives of the Dominions, to which reference was made in previous replies, are still proceeding, and I am not yet in a position to make any statement.

Mr. Lambert

Is my hon. Friend aware that the price of sheep has dropped anything from 10s. to 15s. per head, and can he say what steps the Government are going to take to ensure that the sheep market shall not suffer very severely?

Mr. Ramsbotham

I would remind my right hon. Friend that the fall in the prices of home sheep and lambs is due to a variety of causes over which the Government have no control, such as the expansion of the sheep population, the fall in wool prices, etc. I would further remind him that during the process of consultation it would be unwise to make further comment.

Mr. Lambert

When will these conversations be finished?

Lieut.-Colonel Acland-Troyte

Can my hon. Friend hasten these conversations, and in view of the conference at Sydney, is it not likely that they could be hastened with great effect and success?

Mr. Ramsbotham

I have no doubt that the conversations are proceeding as rapidly as possible.

Mr. W. Roberts

Can the hon. Gentleman say whether this small wholesale price is being passed on to the consumer?