HC Deb 27 June 1938 vol 337 cc1519-20
32. Mr. De la Bère

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he will consider taking steps to reorganise the existing marketing boards to bring about not a limitation of production but a reduction of distributing costs and an increase of home-farming output?

Mr. W. S. Morrison

Marketing boards set up by producers under the provisions of the Agricultural Marketing Acts can exercise only such powers as are contained in their respective schemes each of which has been approved by Parlia- ment, and I have no power to reorganise the boards as suggested by my hon. Friend, even if I considered such action. desirable. Provisions designed to assist in reducing costs of production and distribution are contained in the Agriculture Act, 1937, and in the various commodity measures already brought forward and proposed by the Government.

Mr. T. Williams

Is it not the case that after every marketing scheme set up by the National Government, the price of the commodity to the consumer has increased; and does not that imply that, instead of being marketing schemes, they are mere price-fixing schemes?

Mr. Morrison

I do not think that is a correct statement. I think the price of bacon to-day is cheaper than it was before the marketing board was set up.

Mr. Williams

Is not the statement in the first part of my question correct that the price of every commodity now dealt with by marketing boards is higher to-day to the consumer than it was before the marketing schemes?

Mr. Morrison

It would be necessary to examine each commodity by itself to see what the exact figure was in relation to it, but I would call the attention of the hon. Member to the fact that the period immediately preceding the setting up of marketing schemes was a period of slump, which brought great unemployment and misery to primary producers all over the world.

Mr. George Griffiths

Will the Minister ask his wife at breakfast-time to-morrow morning about the price of bacon and she will tell him that it is up?

Mr. Morrison

I will make that inquiry.