asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has now been able to consider the resolutions passed at the conference of the National Farmers' Union of England, Scotland and Ulster, held at Edinburgh on 6th October, calling on the Government to assist the sheep industry with a subsidy on the same lines as that given in the case of cattle; and whether it has now been possible to work out a practical plan for such a subsidy?
§ Mr. W. S. Morrison
I have been asked to reply. I have received and noted the views of the conference to which my hon. Friend refers. With regard to the possibility of financial assistance to the sheep industry, I have, however, nothing to add to the reply given to my hon. Friend on 25th July last.
§ Captain Ramsay
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether his attention has been drawn to the serious position of Scottish sheep farmers; whether he is aware that the largely increased imports of 1937 resulted in a price drop far below the cost of production of live or dead meat in this country and that, notwithstanding that fact, imports for the first nine months of this year show an increase of 90,000 cwts. on the corresponding period of 1937; and what action he proposes to take in the matter?
With regard to the second part of the question, I would remind my hon. and gallant Friend that home supplies were lower in 1937 than in the previous year, and in the current year various factors in addition to the volume of imports have influenced the price of sheep and lambs received by home producers. Some of these factors were indicated by my right hon. Friend, the Minister of Agriculture, in the course of the Debate on the Address on 15th November, when figures were also quoted showing that there had been a decline of 110,000 cwts. in total imports of mutton and lamb during the first ten months of this year as compared with the corresponding period of 1937.