HC Deb 16 May 1916 vol 82 cc1353-4W

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Agriculture whether he is aware that farmers in Scotland are being forced to accept from merchants about £2 per ton less for their stocks of hay, which the Government does not require, even though they had provided the War Office with supplies earlier in the season; whether he is aware that payment has not yet been made for hay requisitioned during last autumn and winter; and whether he will take steps to secure a more equal and proportionate requisition of hay from farmers by utilising the services of the county agricultural committees, so that the district purchasing officers may secure the War Office requirements, and then permit the hay which is not so required to be sold by the farmers at market price?


In reply to the first part of the question, the entire stocks of hay in the country have been requisitioned by the Government, and any not actually required for Army purposes, after a farmer has retained what he requires for consumption on his own farm, can only be disposed of in accordance with the Regulations, which allow of the price of £6 10s. per ton being paid for the best clover hay in Scotland at the present time. In reply to the second part, no cases where payment has been so long delayed have been brought to my notice, but if my hon. Friend will send me particulars of those he has in mind, I will gladly have them looked into immediately. In reply to the third part of the question, I will bring the suggestion before the Forage Committee and the Forage Reference Committee for Scotland, so that they may consider it in making their recommendations to the War Office for dealing with the 1916 crop; they are already obtaining returns of probable stocks and civil requirements in connection with this crop.