HC Deb 22 November 1948 vol 458 cc865-7
52. Mr. Hurd

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he will make a statement regarding the issue of bonus rations for pigs and poultry.

Mr. G. Brown

Full particulars of the bonus rationing scheme were announced to the Press on 16th November and I am sending the hon. Member a copy of the announcement. I will also, with permission, include a summary statement in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Hurd

What proportionate increase does this amount to for commercial producers of pigs and poultry? When does the Minister think he will be able to remove any remaining restraints on the production of eggs and pig meat?

Mr. Brown

I am not quite sure that I know what my hon. Friend means by "any remaining restraints on the production of eggs and pig meat." If he is asking when we shall be able to make further issues of feedingstuffs, the answer is "When we get them." With regard to the first part of his supplementary question, the answer is "About 10 per cent."

Brigadier Medlicott

While welcoming this bonus, may I ask the Minister whether he will give active consideration to the possibility of a new scheme in which the keeping of pigs and poultry before the war will not be the only criterion?

Mr. Brown

The hon. and gallant Member will be aware that we have reopened again until the end of this month the scheme under which newcomers in this field who have not the 1939–40 basic qualification can, under certain conditions, get feedingstuffs. I hope that any constituent of the hon. and gallant Member who desires to do so will make application before 1st December.

Sir T. Dugdale

Will the Minister try to make his statements to the House in the first instance, because owing to the present shortage of newsprint, it may be difficult for farmers to be quite sure about these matters?

Mr. Brown

I will think about that matter. I made the announcement at Welshpool on Saturday. I thought the interest in the announcement was so wide that it might well be made known in the country. We had already forecast its coming and the matter was widely canvassed in the Press. I am not aware that we made any breach of custom, but I will certainly think about the matter.

Following is the statement:

Issues of bonus rations for pigs and poultry will be made in January, 1949, and subsequently at intervals of four months. The January issues will be based upon deliveries of pig meat during the three calendar months ending 31st December, 1948, and of deliveries of eggs during the 13 weeks ending 29th December, 1948. Allowances will be at the rate of 1 cwt. per 160 lb. of pigmeat or 80 dozen grade-able eggs. For the two subsequent periods the allowance for eggs delivered will be at the rate of 1 cwt. per 160 dozen but the issues in respect of pigmeat will not be varied. The coupons issued will be special coupons valid for either a pig or poultry compound or for straight cereal feeding-stuffs and they will be so dated that purchases are spread over a period of four months beginning with the date of issue.

Producers will be required to make application for the bonus rations and to support their application by vouchers showing what their deliveries of eggs and pigmeat have been during the appropriate period. It has been possible to make arrangements with the egg packing stations under which the stations will furnish producers with a composite voucher showing the total deliveries of gradeable eggs during the period. Pigkeepers must attach the payment certificates they receive in respect of deliveries of pig meat.

The operation of the scheme will be reviewed at the end of the first year and may then be amended as experience dictates.