HC Deb 23 April 1951 vol 487 cc6-8
8. Squadron Leader Burden

asked the Minister of Food what quantity of Eire's exportable surplus of eggs his Department proposes to take in 1951.

Mr. F. Willey

My Department has undertaken to buy the whole of the Irish Republic's exportable surplus of eggs for the year February, 1951, to January, 1952, but has agreed that in the five months, February to June, 1951, the Irish Republican Government, if it so desires, may sell up to 25 per cent. of the exportable surplus to other markets. So far, only trivial quantities have been sold to other markets and my Department has bought practically all the available supplies.

Squadron Leader Burden

Has the hon. Gentleman ensured that his Department will take the 1,250,000 cases of fresh eggs this spring that they undertook to take from Eire?

Mr. Willey

As I have already stated, we have undertaken to buy the whole exportable surplus.

Mrs. Jean Mann

Could my hon. Friend say what price we are paying for these eggs?

Mr. Sydney Silverman rose


Mrs. Mann

Surely I am entitled to an answer?

Mr. Willey

The Question on the Order Paper is about quantity and if my hon. Friend the Member for Coatbridge and Airdrie (Mrs. Mann) wishes to inquire about price she should put down a Question.

Mr. Silverman

Will my hon. Friend bear in mind, and take full note of, the encouragement afforded him by the pressure now being exerted on him from hon. Members opposite to increase his commitments to bulk purchase?

Mr. Nabarro

Can the hon. Gentleman tell the House what is to become of Mr. James Dillon's threat to drench us with Irish eggs?

14. Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

asked the Minister of Food on what date in 1950 he permitted the free sale of eggs; and how many eggs had been supplied on each ration book from 1st January, 1950, to that date.

Mr. F. Willey

On 19th March. The average number of eggs per ration book from 1st January to 19th March, 1950, was 30.

27. Mr. Nabarro

asked the Minister of Food why he has failed to purchase large quantities of shell eggs offered respectively by Canada and Eire during the 12 months ended 31st March, 1951.

Mr. F. Willey

No offer of eggs from Canada was made to my Department in the 12 months ended 31st March, 1951. If such an offer had been made it is very doubtful whether we could have afforded the necessary dollars to take advantage of it. The purchase of eggs from the Irish Republic was the subject of an agreement covering the contract year 1st February, 1950, to 31st January, 1951. Under the agreement my Department undertook to purchase the whole of the Republic's exportable surplus of eggs. With regard to the arrangements from 1st February, 1951, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. and gallant Member for Gillingham (Squadron Leader Burden) today.

Mr. Nabarro

Can the Parliamentary Secretary now tell the House why the intake of shell eggs from Ireland has been steadily decreasing in the last three years—since 1948—and what prospects there are for the immediate future?

Mr. Willey

The recent reduction has, as the hon. Gentleman knows, been due to the weather.

28. Mr. Nabarro

asked the Minister of Food the quantity of shell eggs respectively of home produced and imported origins distributed in the United Kingdom during the year ended 31st March, 1951; the total subsidy paid; and the amount of such subsidy per shell egg.

Mr. F. Willey

The quantity distributed by, or on behalf of, the Ministry of Food in the United Kingdom in the year ended 31st March, 1951, was 4,698 million home produced and 1,782 million imported. The total amount of subsidy was £29,739,000 which works out at approximately 1.1d. per egg.

Mr. Nabarro

Is it not a fact that the hens which laid these subsidised eggs during the last 12 months are now being slaughtered in their hundreds of thousands to provide table poultry in view of the shortage of meat? Will there not thus be a Ministerially promoted egg famine immediately this flush period is over?

Mr. Willey

No. That does not appear to be the fact.

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