HC Deb 02 May 1940 vol 360 cc890-1
51. Mr. J. Morgan

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he will arrange for the Wheat Commission to pay the wheat subsidy payments in full, seeing that the price is guaranteed, as the present instalment method tends to minimise the full benefit of these payments being realised?

Sir R. Dorman-Smith

Wheat deficiency payments for an accounting period are based on the average price realised for wheat sold in that period, and cannot therefore be computed until after the period has ended. Section 1 of the Agriculture (Miscellaneous War Provisions) Act, 1940, provides for the making of deficiency payments in respect of accounting periods less than a year, and final payments can now be made at an earlier date than hitherto. The first two accounting periods for the current cereal year were prescribed by the Act, and an Order was made recently ending the third accounting period on 31st March. The Wheat Commission hope to make final payments to registered growers on or about the 5th June, in respect of wheat sold up to 31st March.

Mr. Morgan

While that is a very satisfactory solution for the present year, is there any reason why next year the full payment should not be made at the time of the sale, or very soon afterwards, seeing that the prices are now fixed, because it would help the farmer if he could get the cash then?

Mr. Buchanan

Oh, yes, keep the farmer going.

Sir R. Dorman-Smith

I appreciate the hon. Member's point, but we have to take an accounting period, and sales of seed wheat come in as well. We are trying to keep the accounting period as short as is reasonably possible.