HC Deb 28 July 1938 vol 338 cc3330-2W
Mr. De Chair

asked the Minister of Agriculture what it would cost to supplement the weighted average prices received by growers for each of the following commodities during the last 12 months by sufficient margins to yield the following prices: wheat 50s. per quarter, beef 50s. per cwt., barley 36s. per quarter, sugar-beet 43s. per ton, mutton Is. per lb., butter Is. 6d. per pound, and potatoes £6 per ton; and if he will state the weighted average prices on which his calculations are based?

Mr. W. S. Morrison

The sum required to make up, in respect of the output in England and Wales of each of the commodities to which my hon. Friend refers, the difference between the prices he has suggested and the weighted average prices, that is prices received by growers (excluding subsidy, except in the case of sugar-beet) for the 12 months ended 3oth June, 1938, may, on certain broad assumptions, be approximately estimated at a total of £15 millions. In the case of sugar-beet it is not practicable to calculate a price exclusive of subsidy, and in the case of barley the average price exceeded the price specified in the question, but no deduction has been made on that account.

The weighted prices on which the calculations have been based are as follows:

Wheat: Average price as ascertained under the Corn Returns Act, 1882, and the Corn Sales Act, 1921, 38s. 7d. per quarter of 504 lbs.

Barley: Average price for home-grown barley of all descriptions as ascertained under the Corn Returns Act, 1882, and the Corn Sales Act, 1921, 50s. 8d. per quarter of 448 lbs.

Beef: Average of first and second quality fat cattle (all breeds) at reported markets, 42s. 5d. per live cwt.

Mutton: Mean of unweighted monthly averages of first and second quality fat sheep (all breeds) at reported markets, 10¼d. per lb. estimated dressed carcase weight; data are not available on which to calculate a weighted average.

Sugar-Beet: Average price for sugar-beet delivered at factory, 40s. 6d. per ton.

Potatoes: Average of first and second quality at reported growers' markets, earlies £5 13s. 6d. and main crop £4 11s. per ton.

Butter: Average of first and second quality farm butter at reported country markets, is. 3¼d. per lb.