§ 5. Mr. Peter Mills
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what further action he will take for the coordination of imports with domestic egg supplies.
§ Mr. Mills
Surely the Minister does not intend to allow this situation to drift on and on. It is his duty to give a lead, which he is not doing, on the control of imports. Does he realise that the industry is looking for this lead? Indeed, the Egg Marketing Board is looking to him to give this lead to the industry.
§ Mr. Peart
It is contrary to international obligations to ban imports of eggs, or to impose restrictions on them. I do not see that any case has yet been made out for altering these arrangements. I have told the National Farmers' Union that if it can convince me that imports are the cause of the present low price, I am willing to review the situation. I think that this is reasonable.
§ Sir H. Harrison
Will the Minister have another talk with the President of the Board of Trade, who has always taken a very rigid attitude about allowing what is relatively a small amount of imports of eggs to come in from foreign countries, because these imports affect the price of eggs in this country?
§ 33. Mr. Pardoe
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what action he has taken to implement the findings and recommendations of the Committee of Investigation for Great Britain into complaints by Western Egg Pasteurising Company Limited and a consortium of agricultural co-operatives.
§ Mr. Pardoe
While thanking the Minister for that reply, may I remind him that 90 per cent. of the egg market will be carved up by the present monopolist-holders? Does he believe that this is in keeping with the recommendation of the Committee of Investigation, which recommended that the whole system should be based on open tender?
§ 34. Mr. Charles Morrison
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he is satisfied by the level of profitability of egg production; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Morrison
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that present controls are causing a steady decline in confidence in the industry, and that this is bound to be increased by the cut in the guarantee price? Would he not agree that there is very considerable danger that before long 1685 there might be a shortage of home supply?
§ Mr. Henry Clark
Will the Minister confirm that large grants are being paid by the Government to multi-million factory units in Scotland?
§ 37. Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the average age of eggs bearing the Lion mark when purchased by consumers.
§ The Joint Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mr. James Hoy)
No precise information is available on this point.
§ 41. Mr. Gwilym Roberts
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he has studied the letter on egg production from the Chairman of the Leighton Buzzard National Farmers' Union, sent to him by the hon. Member for South Bedfordshire; and what steps he is taking to stimulate home egg production.
§ Mr. Roberts
Although it is very difficult to act because of the dangers of production exceeding demand, would my right hon. Friend consider taking action to increase consumer demand for eggs and thus maintain the viability of this side of agriculture?