HC Deb 14 December 1950 vol 482 cc185-6W
52. Mr. D. Marshall

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he is now in a position to make a statement about extra feeding-stuffs this winter for Cornwall.

55. Mr. Alport

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, in view of the uncertainty which at present exists with regard to the availability of feedingstuffs after 31st December, he will make an announcement regarding the winter scale before the Christmas Recess.

Mr. T. Williams

Yes. In addition to the Russian grain contract and purchases made in other areas, the Government have authorised the purchase of a substantial quantity of maize from North America so as to maintain the supply of animal feeding stuffs. In order to limit the expenditure of dollars, however, it is necessary to economise in the rationing scheme, and the Government have decided that rations for dairy cows should revert to the level of past winters. That is to say, they will be based on provision by farmers of their own cereal feeding-stuffs for 1⅛ gallons of milk instead of ¾ gallons as at present.

The county discretionary reserves for those areas of Great Britain, including Cornwall, which have been hardest hit by the abnormal harvests are being increased. These additions will mitigate very considerably the effect of the above adjustment in the dairy cow rations on farmers who are short of fodder.

The present disturbed international situation, however, is putting a heavy strain on shipping, and while every effort is being made to avoid delay in the arrival of supplies, some precautionary measures must be taken. The monthly ration for calves of 6–12 months will be issued for January as usual but the continuation in full of the cereal part in later months is dependent on the prompt arrival of oversea purchases. Further, the bonus ration for pigmeat and eggs due for issue in the four months ending April next will be divided into two equal instalments. The first will be issued as soon as the necessary documents are presented by the farmer, but the issue of the second will similarly depend on the timely arrival of sufficient feedingstuffs from abroad.

Ration scales for the rest of the winter period will otherwise remain unchanged.