HC Deb 05 December 1939 vol 355 cc476-8W
Mr. Kennedy

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether any decision has been reached regarding the concentration of the Scottish ham- and bacon-curing industry; and whether he has considered the hardship involved in that concentration for the holders of small curers' licences who will be forced out of the curing trade?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I would refer the hon. Member to the longer answer to-day to my hon. Friend the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. Higgs). It is now proposed to issue licences permitting the production of bacon on premises where the average weekly output of bacon in 1938 was 5 cwt. or more. I am satisfied that this decision will eliminate hardship so far as is practicable, while at the same time maintaining an effective control of distribution of pigs and bacon which is essential under a rationing scheme.

Mr. Higgs

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether he is now in a position to indicate whether it will be possible to grant licences for the production of bacon to those small curers who were licensed under the Bacon Industry Act?

Mr. W. S. Morrison

The problems connected with the supply of pigs or carcases to and distribution of bacon from the premises of small bacon curers have been re-examined.

It is now proposed to make provision in the bacon control scheme for the issue of licences to cure bacon in respect of all premises, for which a licence was issued under the Bacon Industry Act by the Bacon Development Board on or before 1st September, 1939, and on which 5 cwts. or more of bacon (excluding pickled pork) were produced per week as certified by returns made to the Bacon Marketing Board on or before 31st August, 1939.

Arrangements will be made to enable curers occupying premises so licensed, on which the production of bacon (excluding pickled pork) was, as shown on such returns, from 5 to 15 cwts. per week to acquire sufficient home or imported pig carcases to maintain the amount of bacon required to meet the requirements of their registrations under rationing, so long as the bacon produced from these carcases does not exceed their average weekly curing in 1938. If the effect of this limiting factor is to give such curers less bacon than would be required to meet their registrations under rationing, the balance will be found for them by an allotment of imported bacon.

If the pig supplies of the country diminish, thereby reducing the supply of carcases the deficiency in bacon will be met by a corresponding allotment of imported bacon. Licences will not be granted in respect of such premises unless the occupier undertakes, in advance of the issue of a licence, to produce the types of bacon necessary to obtain the maximum yield of bacon per pig, and the cuts needed for the purpose of the bacon ration.

Curers unlicensed by the Bacon Development Board or on whose premises the output of bacon in 1938 was less on average than 5 cwts. per week will not be granted a licence. Licences to cure bacon, on terms differing from the foregoing, will also be granted to curers in the Orkney and other Scottish Islands.

Mr. Liddall

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether he is aware that Messrs. R. Griffiths and Sons, of Bank House, Ruabon, are registered curers under the Bacon Marketing Scheme; that during the year 1936 their production of bacon amounted to 884 cwts., an average of 17 cwts. per week; that in 1937 and 1938 their production quota was cut down by the board to 540 cwts. per annum, approximately 10½ cwts. per week; and that now the director of bacon production intimates that licences to produce bacon are restricted to premises which for 1938 produced on an average 15 cwts. of bacon per week; and whether it is proposed to compensate Messrs. Griffiths and Sons for the expenditure incurred by them with the approval of the Bacon Development Board in rebuilding and remodelling their bacon factory in 1936 and 1937, or to permit them to produce bacon on those premises?

Mr. W. S. Morrison,

pursuant to his reply (OFFICIAL REPORT, 23rd November, 1939; col. 1411), supplied the following information:

My hon. Friend will see from my reply to-day, to a question by the hon. Member for Birmingham, West (Mr. Higgs) that I have now reconsidered the position of the small curer under the Bacon (Licensing of Producers) Order, and licences to produce bacon will be issued in respect of premises where the production of bacon in 1938 was on average 5 cwt. per week or more. The question of compensation therefore does not arise.