HL Deb 03 December 1930 vol 79 cc461-2

LORD LOVAT asked his Majesty's Government when an announcement is to be made on the subject of the Government policy on "cereal farming" which is to implement the pledge given by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and reaffirmed by the Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries on the nth of November last in the House of Lords.

The noble Lord said; My Lords, I would like to point out that in asking this Question I do not ask what the Government policy is with regard to cereal farming, but when they are going to make an announcement. I admit at once that I have given very short Notice of this Question, but after all the matter has been before both Houses of Parliament for a very considerable time. The other day the noble Earl said that cereal growing in this country should be considered in the light of the conclusions of the Imperial Conference. Well, the conclusions of the Imperial Conference were not very great, and perhaps the Government statement of their policy may not amount to very much. I do not know that it is a necessary sequitur, but we should like to be reassured. The noble Earl also said that after the Imperial Conference His Majesty's Government would undertake whatever practicable steps could be devised to put cereal farming on an economic basis. A reasonable time has now gone by since the Imperial Conference, this matter must have had the Government's attention for a very long time, and I hope that they will now give me an answer as to whether we are going to be told at the end of this week, the beginning of next week, or the week after. This is a critical time. The weather is open, ploughing has to be done, and if you are farming on a normal five or six years' rotation you cannot alter from one style of farming to another in a single year. It is essential that cereal farmers should cut their losses as quickly as possible, and it is for His Majesty's Government to give us the earliest notice of what their intentions are.


My Lords, I am afraid that for the moment it is impossible for me to say anything more than what was said the other day. His Majesty's Government realise to the full the urgency of this problem, and the matter is still under discussion. I hope that it will be possible very soon to give, the noble Lord and your Lordships' House the reply for which you are waiting.


My Lords, I beg to give formal notice that I shall ask this Question again this day week.