19. Mr. De la Bère
asked the Minister of Food what further steps he is taking to augment the supplies of eggs this year 16 to meet the greater increased demand occasioned by the continued shortage of meat.
Mr. De la Bère
Is not the egg supply to some 50 million people throughout the country all-important; is it not a fact that the allocation for 1951 is very much less than it was in 1950; and why is it that the Government go on discouraging the home egg producer? There is no excuse. It is thoroughly unsatisfactory.
§ Mr. Webb
We are not discouraging the home producer. We are about to bring up the price of home-produced eggs to 6s. a dozen. What we are trying to aim at is to get a balance of supply over the whole year, with the co-operation of the farming interests, who are very anxious indeed to work with us. The price now is going up, and we hope to supply many more home-produced eggs in winter than has ever before been the case.
§ Mr. Nabarro
Is it not a fact that the present short-fall in production during the peak period as compared with last year is a direct result of the thoroughly uneconomic price of 4s. 3½d. a dozen. whereas the lowest economic price is considered to be 4s. 9d. a dozen?
§ Mr. Webb
That is one of the difficulties of organising in advance for the imponderable factors, which are conditioned by the climate and all sorts of other uncontrollable things. In the case of making arrangements for oil dipping, it is a long and complicated process which we had to set in motion well in advance of the flush period on certain assumptions. These assumptions have not been realised, and, therefore, we were quite right to go ahead at that time.
§ Mr. W. Robson-Brown
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that if the backyard poultry keeper is given adequate food he will take care of the egg problem for himself?