HC Deb 03 February 1947 vol 432 cc1400-1
74. Mr. De la Bère

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, in view of the fact that exports of agricultural machinery from this country were more than three times greater in 1946 than in 1945, he will endeavour to allocate more agricultural machinery in 1947 for the use of the home producer, with special regard to the long delay and waiting list which exists today.

Mr. T. Williams

Exports in 1945 were, of course, very small. Increased home production of agricultural machinery generally in 1946 resulted in greater supplies going to the home market as well as to export. Manufacturers are planning still greater output in 1947, which should provide for further increased supplies to the home market and a progressive reduction in delay in delivery.

Mr. De la Bère

Is not the Minister aware that exports were three times greater in 1946 than in the previous year, and in view of the urgent need for the home producer to have new agricultural machinery, will he not take steps with the Board of Trade to see that a greater allocation is available to the home producer, since this is of absolutely vital importance to the home producer?

Mr. Williams

The volume of exports was only two and a half times what it was in 1945, but as the exports were very small in 1945, the percentage makes no difference. I can assure the hon. Member that we are fully aware of the urgent need for still more agricultural machinery in this country, but we are also convinced that to get some part of an export market ultimately will be useful both to the nation, from the point of view of exports, and to agriculture because the price to the home farmers will be bound to fall.

Mr. Nicholson

Will the Minister also see that such agricultural machinery as is distributed in this country is not given only to members of war agricultural executive committees and their friends?

Mr. Williams

The distribution will be as fair and as equitable as possible, but I should like to say that I utterly disagree with the last observation made by the hon. Member.