HC Deb 02 November 1939 vol 352 cc2137-8W
Sir R. W. Smith

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1) whether it is his intention to encourage the production of first-grade meat either by a special subsidy for this quality of meat or a special higher fixed price; and what steps the Government propose to take to see that the standards of grading of this class of meat are the same in all districts throughout Great Britain;

(2) Whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that the present fixed price of 48s. per cwt. for fat cattle is some shillings less than Scottish farmers, especially those in the North-East, were receiving for their fat cattle at public auction marts prior to the commencement of the war; if and when the Government propose to increase the fixed price; and if the fixed price is altered he will see that it is a price that will give producers a reasonable profit after taking into account the increased costs of production?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I am aware that the existing maximum price of 48s. per cwt. for fat cattle is lower than the prices which were being received immediately before the war for a proportion of the fat cattle produced by Scottish farmers. There is, however, at this time of the year usually a fall in the price of fat cattle, and I am not prepared at present to give any undertaking as to the date upon which the existing Maximum Price Order will be revised. I can, however, assure my hon. Friend that I am giving, in consultation with my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Scotland, close consideration to the possibility of assisting quality production in war-time, and I will do my utmost whenever a new schedule of prices is made, to bear in mind the considerations to which he refers in the last part of his question.