HC Deb 30 June 1938 vol 337 cc2269-70

Order for Third Reading read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the Third time."—[Mr. W. S. Morrison.]

10.54 p.m.

Mr. T. Williams

We do not intend to oppose the Third Reading. We agree to the establishment of a Bacon Development Board with adequate powers. We should, however, have preferred that the independent members of the Development Board should be a majority, but unfortunately the House rejected the proposal that we made yesterday. We agree also that without rationalisation of the bacon factories we can never hope to have a successful bacon industry in the country. The rationalisation scheme, faithfully carried out, will lead to any future success. We are not opposed to any principle of guaranteed prices so long as those prices follow an efficient industry with an efficient costing system. As far as we have been able to ascertain, the Ministry have not at their disposal a real costing system which would determine once and for all both the cost of the production of the pig arid of the bacon. We do not oppose guaranteed prices so long as regulation is not to be used to excess and to the disadvantage of the consumer. We are not opposed to regulation as such so long as it forms part of an efficient marketing scheme and is not used exclusively to provide scarcity and high prices, and to bolster up inefficient industry in the production of pigs or of bacon. To reduce the saleable supplies of bacon by bolstering up inefficiency is inimical to the interests both of consumers and of the State.

The aim of this House, and the Ministry of Agriculture in particular, should be efficiency in production of pigs and of bacon, and the organisation of plenty rather than of scarcity. This Bill sets out to do some of these things, which may or may not succeed, but the producers, if this Bill is given the Third Reading, will again be on trial. They have been on trial with milk, they are on trial with beef and with slaughter-houses, and so far little or nothing has emerged from them. The House is willing to give them one more chance, and I hope that both the House of Commons and the country will judge them on the results they achieve as a result of this Measure.