HC Deb 14 July 1919 vol 118 cc74-5W

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Agriculture whether he is now prepared to make a statement regarding the moneys diverted from British agriculture out of home-produced cereals, meat, and wool?


As regards imported cereals, the average cost, including freight, of wheat, barley, and oats, respectively, was as follows.:

Wheat.Per 480lbs. Barley. Per 4001bs Oats. Per 312lbs.
s. d. S. d. s. d.
1917(April to Dec.) 92 7 67 6 50 3
1918 100 10 79 6 56 6
1919(Jan. to May) 95 5 65 1 40 6

These prices begin at the time when maximum prices for home-grown cereals first came into operation.

The official average prices of homegrown cereals, as ascertained under the Corn Returns Act of 1882, commencing January, 1917, were respectively as. follows:

Wheat, per 480 lbs. Barley. Per 400 lbs. Oats. Per 312 lbs.
s. d. S. d. s. d.
1917 75 9 64 9 49 10
1918 72 10 59 0 49 4
1919 (Jan. to May) 72 9 62 5 48 3

It should be noted that the barley imported at the prices given in the first table included very little feeding barley, and was almost exclusively malting quality. The home-grown price includes both.

With regard to meat, the Ministry of Food have informed the Department that the average prices paid for home-killed and imported meat are as under:

Per lb.
s. d.
Home-killed beef and mutton (plus the increases paid to producers) 1
Imported beef and mutton (including freight) 0 10¼

The average monthly loss on sales of home-killed meat has been £423,997; the average monthly profit on sales of imported meat has been £476,273—prior to the reduction of 2d. per lb. in the price of imported meat on the 5th May.

With regard to wool, the Ministry of Munitions (Supply) have informed the Department that nearly all the wool imported during the control period was Australasian. An exact comparison of prices given for Australasian wool with British wool is difficult, owing to the differences in types, yields, and "get-ups." The highest quality of British wool is known as "fifty-eights," whereas merino qualities, of which there is a very considerable proportion in the Australasian clip, rise to "eighties." The average price paid to the Australasian grower is 15id. per lb., plus a half-share in the profits on that portion of the wool used for non-military purposes. These profits cannot be calculated until the accounts are made up at the end of the period of control of Australasian wool, when all purchases under present contracts have been completed (i.e., at the earliest 30th June, 1920). The average price paid to the British grower for his 1918 clip was I7.67d. per lb. This was 60 per cent, above the average prices ruling in June and July, 1914. The prices for 1917 and 1916 were 50 per cent. and 35 per cent. respectively, above the 1914 price.