58. Mr. De la Bère
asked the Minister of Agriculture, whether, in view of the fact that only 3¼ per cent. of the country's steel has been allocated to agriculture for the manufacture of vitally-needed agricultural machines and tractors, he will give an assurance that the proposed increased exports of agricultural machinery will be abandoned, having regard to the fact that there will be no more Canadian or American supplies of agricultural machinery.
§ Mr. G. Brown
No, Sir. As my right hon. Friend said in reply to the hon. and gallant Member for the Isle of Ely (Major Legge-Bourke) on 27th October, I hope that the increased steel allocations will enable us both to meet our home needs and to continue our export drive. We are still importing from North America such 1340 supplies as we can get of special types of machines not available from home sources.
Mr. De la Bère
Is the Minister aware that we are desperately short of tractors and most machines, and it is useless for the Government to ask for increased production if they do not provide the additional machines required to get the increased production? Thank goodness this Government are coming to an end very soon?
§ Major Legge-Bourke
Does the hon. Gentleman realise that unless we are also given an assurance that there will be an increase in the allocation of implements for the home market, the increase in allocation means very little from the point of view of home agriculture?
§ 60. Mr. Manningham-Buller
asked the Minister of Agriculture what priority has been given to makers of agricultural machinery for the obtaining by them of the necessary raw materials.
§ Mr. G. Brown
I would refer the hon. Member to the replies my right hon. Friend gave to the hon. and gallant Member for Ludlow (Lieut.-Colonel Corbett), the hon. Member for Devizes (Mr. Hollis), and the hon. Member for Salisbury (Mr. J. Morrison) on 27th October.
§ Mr. Peter Thorneycroft
Will the hon. Gentleman say what kind of priority this is? Am I right in understanding that the only sort of priority that is worth anything is that of being on the Prime Minister's list? Has agriculture got that priority?
§ Mr. Brown
Agricultural machinery requirements are receiving very favourable consideration. As regards steel, for example, the allocation of agricultural 1341 machinery for the fourth quarter of 1947 is nearly twice as large as that for the third quarter. We are getting nearly as much as we can take up.
§ Mr. Manningham-Buller
I did not ask about allocations but about priorities. Is the answer that there is no priority for agriculture?