HC Deb 24 February 1965 vol 707 cc368-9
7. Mr. Stodart

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what percentage of the barley used for the production of malt whisky is grown in Scotland.

Mr. Willis

In the period from August, 1963, to July, 1964, about 26 per cent.

Mr. Stodart

Well, then, can the Minister of State explain this rather extraordinary situation which causes malt distillers on Speyside not to buy barley from the Laich o' Moray and other districts of that kind, and can he say whether it is due to the poor quality being produced?

Mr. Willis

I do not know that it is poor quality. It is not suitable quality, as I understand it; because I am informed that barley of a suitable quality can fairly easily be disposed of to distillers.

Mr. Steele

Would my hon. Friend, when discussing distilling generally, convey the kind regards of hon. Members on this side of the House to his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Economic Affairs for reducing the cost of living by 7s. per bottle?

Mr. Speaker

They will have to be conveyed in barley on this Question.

8. Mr. Stodart

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how the Scottish barley crop is consumed, stated in percentage terms, as between brewing, distilling and animal feeding, respectively.

Mr. Willis

Of the 1963 crop, 17 per cent. was used for brewing and malting, 7 per cent. for distilling and 67 per cent. for animal feeding. The balance of 9 per cent. was used for seed, pot and pearl barley manufacture, or was exported.

Mr. Stodart

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the percentage of barley going to the brewing and the distillery trade is probably a good deal less than it was in pre-war days? Again, can he give any reason, or say whether any advice is being given by the colleges of agriculture to growers in Scotland so as to improve their varieties to satisfy this important trade?

Mr. Willis

I have no figures for before the war, but the figures for recent years do not sum ,to show any great fall. Work in the field of improved cereal varieties is being actively pursued. I understand that in this work the effect of Scottish conditions is taken into account.