HC Deb 11 February 1953 vol 511 cc398-9
22. Miss Burton

asked the Minister of Food whether he will now make a statement on the future functioning of the packing stations, the prices expected to be paid to poultry farmers, and the resultant cost to the consumer.

30. Mr. Dodds

asked the Minister of Food if he is aware of the increasing confusion as to the proposed method of marketing eggs when control is lifted; and if he will now make a statement giving the details of his proposed arrangements to clarify this situation.

32. Mr. G. M. Thomson

asked the Minister of Food what steps he proposes to take to ensure the orderly marketing of eggs immediately after the de-control arrangements come into operation.

Major Lloyd George

The detailed arrangements for marketing eggs in the interim period following removal of allocation and price control this spring are nearing completion and a statement will be made shortly.

Miss Burton

Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that the President of the National Farmers' Union has described the Government's proposals as the gamble for a free market in the hope of getting a little more on a short term, with the consumer taking the rap "? Is he further aware that that is a verbatim statement from the "Daily Telegraph" of 28th January, which is not a Labour organ? When does he propose to protect the ordinary consumer?

Major Lloyd George

I think the hon. Lady had better wait to see the results of the discussions which we are now having.

Mr. Thomson

Can the Minister give any assurance that, under the schemes which he is planning, he will be able to ensure a priority for eggs for nursing mothers and children?

Major Lloyd George

In my view of this matter, that is a reason why we decontrolled, for that is the best way to get the eggs to every section of the community.

Miss Burton

Can the right hon. and gallant Gentleman tell the House which sections of the community approve of this scheme, as the farmers, the consumers and the shop keepers do not?

Major Lloyd George

I cannot accept that. I am quite satisfied that we should await our experience and that consumers should have a chance to see what happens.