HC Deb 12 April 1949 vol 463 cc2628-9
32. Mr. De la Bère

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the apprehension of farm and horticultural producers in the United Kingdom, as a result of the present policy of the Ministry of Food, he will consider merging the Ministry of Food with the Ministry of Agriculture to enable the Ministry of Agriculture more adequately to protect the interests of the home producers, and to ensure increased home food production.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Attlee)

do not accept the implications in the hon. Member's Question, but in any case the answer is in the negative.

Mr. De la Bère

Is the Prime Minister aware that I never accept a peremptory answer without some fuller explanation? Is the right hon. Gentleman also aware of the widespread apprehension throughout all the rural areas with regard to the policy of the Ministry of Food, which is diametrically opposed to the increased production of food at home, and will he now do something about this all important matter, in view of the fact that all rural areas are absolutely against the Prime Minister in this matter? There is no one for him.

The Prime Minister

The hon. Member is now repeating the allegation which I have already not accepted, and I do not think I can accept it that the hon. Member knows exactly what everybody in the rural areas is thinking.

Mrs. Castle

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the interests of consumers need protecting as well as the interests of producers, and will he do nothing to establish a monopoly for home producers which would tend to drive up prices still further?

Viscount Hinchingbrooke

Does the right hon. Gentleman mean by his reply that not even in a tentative form does he intend to look into this desirable reform?

The Prime Minister

I said nothing of the sort.

Mr. Drayson

As the Prime Minister will not abolish the Ministry of Food or combine it with the Ministry of Agriculture, would he ask the Minister of Food to co-operate much more closely with the Minister of Agriculture, especially in enabling dollars with which he would like to buy food to be made available so that the Minister of Agriculture can buy feedingstuffs?

The Prime Minister

The hon. Member is now asking a Question which has been asked several times in the last few weeks. There is co-ordination between the two Ministers.

Mr. De la Bère

In view of the thoroughly unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I shall raise this matter again and again. I shall go on and on. It is monstrous!