HL Deb 28 April 1936 vol 100 cc629-30WA

asked His Majesty's Government whether the following facts have been brought to their knowledge—

  1. (1) That Mr. O. V. F. Rowley for many years having himself farmed his Monkshardwick Farm of 674 acres in Huntingdon, was granted a basic acreage to grow potatoes on two acres on the ground that he had never planted more than two acres in the past.
  2. (2) That Mr. Rowley being desirous of letting the farm to a Lincolnshire farmer who was quitting a farm with a basic acreage of 80 acres potatoes, made application to the Potato Marketing Board for an increased basic acreage of 50 acres potatoes and was refused any increase in the basic acreage of the farm.
  3. (3) That Mr. Rowley in order to let the farm refunded to his incoming tenant the levy of £5 per acre on 50 acres.

And further to inquire what authority, if any, correlates the actions of the Potato Marketing Board with the actions of the Import Duties Advisory Committee, in view of the above facts and in view of Import Duties (Exemptions) No. 2 Order, 1936, which Order removes the duty on main-crop potatoes on account of the extent to which supplies of home grown produce are estimated to be short of the needs of the market?


The facts stated in parts 1 and 2 of the noble Lord's question were brought to the notice of the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries in October last. The Potato Marketing Scheme lays down the manner in which the basic potato acreages of registered producers are to be calculated, and provides that any registered producer who is aggrieved by any act or omission of the Board may refer the matter to arbitration. The Minister has no power to intervene.

In reply to the last part of the question, it may be pointed out that the basic acreage principle is designed to facilitate the Board's operations in adjusting supply to demand on a long-term view of the problem. The supply position at any point of time may, however, call for short-term action such as that recently taken under the Order referred to, and in that connection full consideration would be given by His Majesty's Government to all available information including that supplied by the Market Supply Committee, whose duty it is to review the circumstances affecting the supply of agricultural products in this country.