HC Deb 07 December 1950 vol 482 cc528-9
52. Mr. Crouch

asked the Minister of Agriculture what was the amount paid to the British wool grower for the 1949 wool clip; and what was the price realised at the resale of this wool by his Department.

Mr. T. Williams

The total amount paid to growers in the United Kingdom for fleece wool of the 1949 clip was £6.3 million, which gave an average price of 26.24d. per lb. The price realised on the sale of this wool by public auction averaged 37.14d. per lb. after deducting costs of collection and sale.

Mr. Crouch

Is the Minister aware that had his Department not made such a huge profit on this wool, we should, by the spring of this year, have increased the quantity of mutton available to the housewife by a very considerable amount?

Mr. Williams

I am aware that the Government made a profit on the sale of last year's wool, but that was because the farmers preferred a guaranteed price, isolating them from wide fluctuations, to any market price that happened to be obtainable.

Mr. Baldwin

Will the Minister convey to his hon. Friend the Member for Bilston (Mr. Nally) that that transaction does not sound much like feather bedding or a subsidy for farmers?