HC Deb 08 May 1939 vol 347 cc18-9
33. Mr. Thornton-Kemsley

asked the Minister of Agriculture the average price per cwt. of British wheat and oats for the year 1938, and the first four months of 1939?

Sir R. Dorman-Smith

The average prices per cwt. of British wheat and oats during 1938, according to the returns received under the Corn Returns Act, were 6s. 9d. and 7s. 7d. respectively. The corresponding average prices for the first four months of 1939 were 4s. 3d. per cwt. for wheat and 6s. Id. per cwt. for oats.

34. Mr. Thornton-Kemsley

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, in framing the new oat legislation, he will bear in mind the fact that the market has consistently assessed oats at a price per cwt. which is not lower than that of wheat; and whether he will give a much-needed stimulus to mixed farming in districts where oats are the basic cereal crop by giving due regard to the need for cereal parity?

The Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Wedderburn)

I have been asked to reply. All relevant considerations will be borne in mind in framing legislation in regard to oats. I hope that the additional assistance proposed for growers of oats will have a stimulating effect on mixed farming, both generally and in the districts to which my hon. Friend refers.

Mr. Thornton-Kemsley

While thanking the hon. Member for the reply, may I ask whether he does not agree that the justification for the wheat quota payments is that they give a measure of price assurance to the Englishman's basic cereal crop, and does he not think that in the interests of the land itself the Scotsman ought to receive the same measure of assurance for his oats?

Mr. Wedderburn

I think that is very well put.

Mr. T. Williams

If the same legislation which applies to wheat ought to apply to oats, will the hon. Member not agree that if the Government are to provide a guaranteed price they should also control the selling of the oats so that the Treasury will not be let down?

Mr. Wedderburn

That is another question.