HC Deb 05 June 1951 vol 488 cc799-801
28. Mr. Grimond

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether, in view of the statement in the recent White Paper on the Annual Review of Farm Prices that there is a surplus of eggs at a certain time of year, he will make it clear that it is not the policy of the Government to reduce egg production in this country.

Mr. T. Fraser

As is made clear in the recent White Paper on the Annual Review and Fixing of Farm Prices, 1951, the Government still want the high level of egg production already reached to be maintained, and it is hoped by widening the difference in seasonal prices to spread production more evenly throughout the year.

Mr. Grimond

Will the hon. Gentleman agree that this spring, at any rate, there is a large unsatisfied demand for eggs and a falling off, which I think has taken place in egg production, which is very serious?

Mr. Fraser

This, of course, has been a bad spring, but I think the general policy explained in the White Paper is one which is acceptable to hon. Members in all parts of the House.

Mr. Snadden

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there is already evidence of a very decided tendency to discourage egg production because of the recent price variations announced by the Ministry of Food? Will he say whether the Department were properly consulted before these prices were fixed, because otherwise we shall get few eggs next year?

Mr. Fraser

Of course the Departments were fully consulted. I do not know from where the hon. Member gets his evidence about there being discouragement in egg production at the present time.

Major Legge-Bourke

May I ask if the hon. Gentleman, before drafting his reply, had consultation with the Minister of Agriculture, or was it only a few minutes ago on the Government Front Bench?

Mr. Fraser

I do not know what is the relevance of that comment. The Secretary of State for Scotland is responsible for the administration of these matters in Scotland, but of course we have discussion with the Minister of Agriculture.

Mrs. Mann

Will my hon. Friend say when there is likely to be a surplus of eggs in Scotland, and will they be sent to Edinburgh, or to the Scottish Grand Committee?