HC Deb 18 January 1940 vol 356 cc259-60W
Major Carver

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether in view of the large stock of the 1939 crop of potatoes still unsold and for which there appears to be slow demand, he will see that steps are taken to deal with the situation by fixing a minimum price and so prevent the possibility of a reduced acreage this year?

Mr. W. S. Morrison

I have been asked to reply. Minimum prices for growers' sales of potatoes of the 1939 crop will be provided for in the Order which is about to be issued in connection with the new scheme of control.

Sir G. Mitcheson

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what yield is expected by his Department from the levy on all 1939 potatoes to be sold under the new marketing plan?

Sir Smedley Crooke

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what percentage under the proposal under the new Potato Scheme to raise a tonnage levy to form an insurance fund for ensuring a reasonable return on any surplus created, remaining at the end of the season it is proposed to earmark for the cost of the scheme?

Mr. Morrison

The rates of levy ire still under consideration. It is not yet possible, therefore, to form an estimate of the yield or to state what percentage of the levy will be required to meet the cost of the scheme.

Mr. Craven-Ellis

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster the present cost of the operation by the Government of the Ministry of Food, potato section; whether the introduction of the new scheme for dealing with Ware potatoes of the 1939 crop will necessitate any increase of staff; and, if so, to what extent and at what additional cost?

Mr. Morrison

The cost of the present Potato Section is estimated at £72,000 per annum. It is not considered that any increase of staff will be necessary in connection with the scheme referred to.

Mr. Robert Morgan

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether, under the new plan for the distribution of Ware potatoes produced in the United Kingdom in 1939, any surplus is expected, and of what extent?

Mr. Morrison

A census of potato stocks is being taken with a view to estimating the probable surplus, but the final figures are not yet available.

Mr. Gledhill

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether any guarantee will be incorporated in the proposed potato plan which will ensure that the levy to be added by the first buyer to his price on re-sale is not payable from the first buyer's margin?

Mr. Morrison

No such guarantee is possible without fixed prices for all resales, which would be impracticable, but full account will be taken of the levy in fixing the maximum prices on first resales.