HC Deb 15 March 1951 vol 485 cc1758-9
50. Mr. Bossom

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he is aware of the desire among farmers in the South of England that there should be a sugar beet factory in this part of the country to avoid having to send their crops long distances to factories which are already fully occupied; and what steps he proposes to take to deal with this matter.

Mr. T. Williams

Yes, Sir, but there are other projects, including extensive renovation and improvement of the existing sugar beet factories, which have prior claims on the limited building and other resources available.

Mr. Bossom

Has not the National Farmers' Union requested the Minister on many occasions over several years to look into this, and would he look into it, having so far refused to do so, as such a factory would have been of great service in the South of England?

Mr. Williams

Perhaps another sugar beet factory is desirable, but to reach the conclusion that another factory has to be built many other factors have to be taken into consideration.

Mr. Vane

Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that work on a new factory should be given priority over work at Carlton House Terrace?

Earl Winterton

Is the Minister aware that for the last 20 years my constituents have been pressing for a sugar beet factory in the South? Surely it is about time that he made up his mind.

Mr. Williams

The noble' Lord will be aware that for 14½ of those 20 years his party were in office.

Major Legge-Bourke

Arising out of the Minister's reply, in which he said that various extensions were to be made to existing factories, will he give an assurance that these extensions will be adequate to deal with the increased production of sugar beet in East Anglia and at the same time cater for sugar beet growing in the South of England?

Mr. Williams

The hon. and gallant Gentleman is aware that during the past season the output of beet factories has been 20 per cent. larger than ever before.