§ Mr. Hannah
asked the Minister of Agriculture (1) what further steps he proposes 2354W to take in order to remedy the present position in the bacon industry which is causing widespread unemployment, is greatly increasing the office costs of the factories without any return, and is causing great dissatisfaction;
(2) whether he is aware that bacon curers are forbidden to buy the pigs of which they are short on contract to fulfil their bacon sales quota; and, as the Pig Marketing Board has failed to supply the pigs, will he take measures to allow curers to buy pigs for themselves for the purpose of curing?
§ Sir R. Dorman-Smith
I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave to a question on the subject which he asked on 13th February, and I would add that the question of permitting the purchase of pigs for curing purposes outside the long contract system is one for the Bacon Development Board and not for me. My hon. Friend will, I hope, appreciate that if curers were allowed to engage in a competitive scramble for pigs in the open market, the result could only be a recurrence of the conditions which brought about the collapse of the contract system in 1936. The difficulty, as my hon. Friend will appreciate, is two-fold; there is a shortage of pigs and a surplus of manufacturing capacity. The latter problem will, it is hoped, be remedied by means of the factory rationalisation scheme contemplated in the Bacon Industry Act. I understand that the Bacon Marketing Board will shortly submit such a scheme to the Bacon Development Board.