HC Deb 21 April 1955 vol 540 c344
26. Mr. J. E. B. Hill

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether, when allocating the subsidy available for fertilisers, he will reduce the cost of potash in straight and compound form as well as of nitrogen and phosphates.

Mr. H. Nicholls

No, Sir. The Government reviewed the question of fertiliser subsidies during the Annual Review discussions. As stated in paragraph 22 of the White Paper following the Annual Review, 1955, Command 9406, it was decided that further assistance should be in the form of increased subsidies for nitrogen and phosphates.

Mr. Hill

In view of the undoubted benefit which would accrue to potash-deficient land, particularly in the horticultural industry, would my hon. Friend indicate the difficulties in extending this subsidy, and whether, if there is a difficulty, the Government can take any steps to overcome it?

Mr. Nicholls

The difficulty is that £3½ million was specifically allocated in the Price Review to nitrogen and phosphates. The question of sharing this allocation with potash was considered but rejected. The consumption of potash on its own merit is increasing, and it would appear to be a bad time to take away the help being given in respect of nitrogen and phosphates.

Mr. Jay

As the hon. Member brings a fresh mind to these problems, will he tell us whether there is a Ministry of Food now or whether there is not?

Mr. Stokes

And what food?