HC Deb 16 February 1956 vol 548 cc2508-9
17. Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the policy of Her Majesty's Government regarding the production of bacon pigs this year as compared with last.

Mr. Amory

It is the Government's policy to continue to support pig production through a system of price guarantees giving a fair level of return. The division of supplies for pork, bacon and manufacture is for the market to decide. The guaranteed price affords an effective safeguard against the effects of undue fluctuation in market prices.

Lieut-Colonel Lipton

Will the right hon. Gentleman—who is being suspiciously vague—say simply and categorically whether he wants pig producers to produce more pigs and more bacon this year than last year? Last year we produced 4,400,000 pigs. Does he want this year more than that, less, or just the same? That is all we want to know.

Mr. Amory

The numbers of pigs required will depend upon the demand for pigmeat and cannot be settled by me.

21. Mr. Dye

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the numbers of fat pigs marketed during the week ended 10th December, 1955, on which the deficiency payments were made; and the average market price per score pounds recorded for those pigs.

Mr. Amory

The total number of fat pigs marketed in the week ended 10th December was 200,763. The average market price was 41s. 7d. per score deadweight.

Mr. Dye

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that in these cases the pigs were mainly for the Christmas period of consumption and were sold as pork at very high prices? Therefore, his argument that there were too many pigs does not arise.

Mr. Amory

I do not think that I ever said there were too many pigs. This illustrates exactly what I did say, namely, that the price and type of pig required is in fact settled by the market.

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