HC Deb 25 November 1946 vol 430 cc1256-8
55. Mr. De la Bère

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, in view of the fact that the price of imported meat and cereals has risen and continues to rise disproportionately as compared with the home-produced foodstuffs, he will consider giving some financial encouragement to home producers to increase their output, in view of the fact that at the present time there has been only partial compensation for higher agricultural labour costs.

Mr. T. Williams

No, Sir. One of the main purposes of the system of assured markets and prices guaranteed in advance for the principal home agricultural products is to enable home producers to plan ahead in the knowledge that the guaranteed prices will not be affected by fluctuations either up or down in the prices of corresponding imported products. In any case, I am not prepared to make changes in the prices of particular farm products in between the reviews for which provision is made in the agreed procedure.

Mr. De la Bère

Will the right hon. Gentleman confer with the Minister of Food with a view to ascertaining why it is that we pay so much more for these products abroad than we do to our home producers? There is always a trend upwards abroad but here our people generally have to have the same prices.

Mr. Williams

That is very likely because abroad controls have been abolished.

Mr. Baldwin

Is the Minister aware that his colleague the Minister of Food has increased the price to be paid for farm products in S.R. & O. 1714—a magnificent rise of one penny per cwt. from November to July next?

Mr. Williams

Perhaps the hon. Member ought to be thankful for small mercies.

63. Lieut.-Colonel Kingsmill

asked the Minister of Agriculture what further steps he proposes to take to assist the farming industry in view of the fact that his Department estimates that prices of farming produce will fall and that the cost of labour will remain steady.

Mr. T. Williams

I have already written-to the hon. and gallant Member expressing regret for the letter that has given rise to his Question and asking that certain of its contents should be disregarded. The stability of the industry is adequately safeguarded by the system of assured markets and guaranteed prices which, as the hon. and gallant Member knows, the Government propose to establish as an essential and permanent feature of their agricultural policy.

Lieut.-Colonel Kingsmill

Will the right hon. Gentleman, in future, make certain that members of his Department do not put out irresponsible letters of this type?

Mr. Williams

The hon. and gallant Gentleman will appreciate the contents of the letter which I sent to him, and I hope he will not expect me to go beyond that.

Back to
Forward to