§ Sir A. HOLBROOK
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether the decontrol of agriculture will be immediately followed by the decontrol of hops; whether the Hop Control Board is keeping up the price of hops, and has issued a notice that further forward contracts should not be made, as hops are unlikely to be allowed to be imported; and what has been the cost to the taxpayers of the Hop Control Board and the staff employed by it for the past three years?
Sir A. BOSCAWEN
The control of hops is maintained under the provisions of the Ministry of Food (Continuance) Act, 1920, and is therefore independent of the Agriculture Act, 1920. The Hop Control Board, which is composed of representatives of the growers, the brewers and the trade, was established in order to secure the restoration of the English acreage under hops, which had been reduced by Order during the War. The Hop Controller is charged with arranging for an equitable distribution 611W of hops at a price based upon the average cost of production after allowing for a reasonable profit to the grower. In view of the fact that the stock of foreign hops already contracted for, together with the amount of the English crop estimated for this year, is already more than sufficient to meet the estimated requirements of the brewing trade, the Hop Controller has issued a notice, dated 31st May last, informing brewers that it is undesirable that further forward contracts should be made. No charge falls upon the State due to the existence of the Hop Control Board, since the sales of the hops brought into the control are made to bear the costs of administration.