HC Deb 05 February 1957 vol 564 cc212-3
3. Sir R. Boothby

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps he is taking to ensure that the surplus potatoes of last year's crop are cleared.

Lord John Hope

As my hon. Friend is aware, the purchase of potatoes coming within the guarantee arrangements is a matter for the Potato Marketing Board. So also are the steps being taken for the disposal of any surplus. I can assure my hon. Friend that the Board has this matter closely in hand.

Sir R. Boothby

Will my hon. Friend suggest to the Board that it might zip it up a bit, because that makes all the difference?

Lord John Hope

I am sure it will see what my hon. Friend has said.

Mr. John MacLeod

Can the Joint Under-Secretary look into the question of having more processing plants nearer to the areas of production, because that would deal with the problem most effectively?

Lord John Hope

Perhaps the hon. Member would like to put down a Question about that.

13. Mr. Emrys Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland, in view of the losses sustained by early potato growers in 1956, what plans he has to prevent a recurrence of those losses in 1957.

Lord John Hope

The marketing of potatoes is the immediate concern of the Potato Marketing Board, which, I understand, has made arrangements for improved intelligence about imports in order to facilitate the disposal of the home crop.

Mr. Hughes

As this crop is of great interest to Ayrshire farmers, should it not be of interest to the Minister? Will he do a little more to co-operate and get a reasonable situation for these farmers?

Lord John Hope

I thought and hoped that the Answer I gave would be encouraging to the hon. Gentleman. The Board is trying to avoid what happened last year by the measures which it is taking and which I described.

Captain Duncan

If the circumstances warrant it, will my hon. Friend take advantage of the Customs Duties (Dumping and Subsidies) Bill to deal with the dumping of French potatoes, such as happened last year?

Lord John Hope

That is another question.