§ Mr. POTTS
asked the Minister of Agriculture the cause of British wheat average selling prices advancing from 9s. 5d. to 10s. 10d., barley 9s. to 11s. 9d., and oats 9s. 10d. to 10s. 2d. per cwt. for the week ending 9th February, 1924, over the corresponding week of 1923; what quantities of cereals did British farmers dispose of for the week ending 1924 as against the same week of 1923; and how farm labourers' wages compare on the average for the same two periods?702W
§ Mr. BUXTON
A rise in the price of wheat and oats has taken place since the beginning of this year, probably in sympathy with imported cereals, which show a similar increase. British barley has been securing better prices during most of this season, the quality being superior to that of the 1922 crop. The quantities purchased at markets scheduled under the Corn Returns Act, 1882, on which the average prices quoted are based, were: Wheat, 376,374 cwts.; barley, 261,060 cwts,, and oats, 99,901 cwts.; as compared with 367,292 cwts.; 179,362 cwts., and 76,376 cwts. respectively in the corresponding week of 1923. These quantities refer to purchases at scheduled markets only. The total quantities sold would be much larger, but cannot be accurately estimated. As regards the last part of the question, I do not know that there has been any very material change in agricultural wages since last year, but it is difficult to make precise comparisons.