HC Deb 15 November 1951 vol 493 cc1163-4
62. Mr. Anthony Hurd

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he will make a statement about the scope of the special farm price review now being undertaken by the Government.

Sir T. Dugdale

A special review in terms of Section 2 of the Agriculture Act, 1947, was held last month following the award by the Agricultural Wages Board in England and Wales of an increase of 8s. 0d. a week in the basic pay of farm workers and an extra five days' holiday with pay. The opportunity was also taken to examine certain other actual and prospective cost increases affecting the industry, such as wage changes in Scotland and Northern Ireland and fertiliser prices. The Government are now considering on the basis of the facts and figures established at the review whether further action is called for under Section 3 of the Act—which enables Ministers to fix or vary agricultural prices—or in any other way.

Mr. Hurd

May I take it that the Minister will be able, before we go away for Christmas, to tell the House the decision of the Government?

Sir T. Dugdale

I hope very much that that will be the case.

Mrs. Barbara Castle

Will the Minister bear in mind his party's promise to the housewives to reduce the cost of living?

Sir T. Dugdale indicated assent.

Mr. Callaghan

As the Government have promised that the food subsidies will not be tampered with, may we take it that any increase in prices which result from the review will be reflected in increased food subsidies?

Sir T. Dugdale

That question should be addressed to my right hon. and gallant Friend the Minister of Food.