HC Deb 21 November 1939 vol 353 cc1050-1W
Sir R. Glyn

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has considered the peculiar position of blackface and cheviot light-weight ewes which form the mainstay of hill farming both in Scotland and England, in view of the fact that the proposed offer of 1d. to raise the flat-rate price to 7d. a pound will show no profit whatsoever as the resultant price is less than what such ewes were fetching during the pre-war depression; whether he is aware that the financial position of hill farmers is already unsatisfactory, and that there is an urgent need that they should at least receive a reasonable price for wool, otherwise the gravity of the position will be shown in a considerable exodus of tenants of hill farms throughout the country; and whether he is now in a position to make a statement on this matter?

Mr. Colville

The great majority of fat light-weight ewes from hill farms have already been sold to low ground farmers, who have bought them at current prices to sell fat during the late winter and spring. The price of 7d. per lb. can, therefore, scarcely affect the returns of hill sheep farmers in the current year.

With regard to wool, I am fully alive to the importance of this source of income to the hill sheep farmer. My right hon. Friend the Minister of Supply is responsible for the fixing of wool prices, and my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries and I are in consultation with him in regard to the prices to be paid for wool still in the farmers' hands and also in regard to the principles on which the home clip of 1940 should be dealt with.

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