HC Deb 12 December 1945 vol 417 cc414-5
69. Dr. Little

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in fixing the price of flax for the ensuing season, he has considered the increased cost of production which makes it impossible to produce flax at less than from 30s. to 35s. per stone.

Mr. Ellis Smith

I have no reason to doubt that the price offered will be a sufficient inducement to farmers to sow a reasonable quantity of suitable land with flax. The hon. Member will, of course, appreciate the importance to the Northern Ireland linen industry that the prices of its raw material should not be unduly high.

Dr. Little

Will the hon. Gentleman appoint a. small committee of flax experts to inquire into the cost of the production of flax, and ascertain whether there is a deterioration in the land owing to intensive cultivation during the war which has much lowered the yield of flax per acre?

Mr. Smith

If that were necessary we would certainly take that into consideration, but in 1938, 21 acres were sown, for which they were given £110 a ton, and in 1945, 80,000 acres were sown for which they received £228 6s. 8d. per ton plus an acreage payment of £5.