§ 19. Mr. J. Johnson
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is aware of the anxiety amongst Warwickshire farmers regarding his decision to close the grain silo at Rugby; and whether he will reconsider this.
I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given on 11th June to Questions by my hon. Friends the Members for Wokingham (Mr. Remnant) and Newbury (Mr. Hurd).
§ Mr. Johnson
I know that, but can the Minister tell me what use was made of this silo last year, if public money was lost, and also how much? He said last 1032 week that he knew of lessees for this among other silos. Can he tell us what evidence he has that there are lessees who would take this silo?
I am afraid I cannot give the hon. Member the precise information for which he asks on either of those two points. I cannot give him the precise loss on the silo last year, but it was by no means fully employed, and there certainly was a loss. I can, of course, give him the loss on all the silos last year. In reply to the second question, it was only just recently that we asked for tenders and it is too early to say, but I understand that there are one or two people who have asked for particulars about the Rugby silo.
§ Mr. Johnson
Would the right hon. Gentleman admit that, if we have a wet summer, many farmers fear that we shall see the silos full of imports of cheap Canadian wheat or Iraqi barley and they will not be able to get the full use of this silo?
I made this arrangement because I am very anxious that silos should be available when they are really wanted. I would remind the hon. Member that, in the excessively wet season of 1954—I hope to goodness we shall not have another harvest like that—even then silos were only partially used. I think it was up to 49 per cent. of capacity, and last year the amount dropped to only 26 per cent.