HC Deb 17 March 1955 vol 538 cc1455-6
57. Mr. Crouch

asked the Minister of Food the cost of subsidy on cereals for the 1953 harvest year, including cost of re-condition mills; and the estimated cost under the new deficiency payments scheme, in view of the lower world price of wheat.

Mr. Amory

The total cost of the subsidy on cereals of the 1953 harvest was £34 million. The estimate of the cost of deficiency payments on cereals of the 1954 harvest, in relation to the latest published subsidy figure is £38.8 million.

Mr. Willey

Does not the right hon. Gentleman think that the time has come when he should explain frankly to the House the purpose of these subsidies? After all, his predecessor abolished them, but now they keep increasing year by year.

Mr. Amory

I thought the hon. Gentleman was clear about the fact that the purpose of these subsidies is to afford a secure basis and proper incentives for our agricultural industry, so that it may make the most of its opportunities and ensure that our food production shall at all times be as efficient and productive as it possibly can be.