HC Deb 20 December 1954 vol 535 cc219-20W
81. Mr. J. Johnson

asked the Minister of Food what improvements he has made in the auction system of fatstock; and what plans he has made to prevent, or limit, the operation of buying rings, as suggested in the White Paper on the Marketing of Agricultural Produce, Command Paper No. 8989.

86. Brigadier Medlicott

asked the Minister of Food what evidence he has received of the existence of buyers' rings in the fatstock markets.

Dr. Hill

Advance entries of fatstock for certification and sale have been made compulsory: this enables potential buyers to be notified of the numbers of stock at forthcoming sales. A basis of a price per hundredweight for cattle and per score pounds for pigs (instead of per head) has been standardised. As my right hon. Friend said in reply to the hon. Member for Deptford (Sir L. Plummer) on 4th November, the market for cattle has been highly competitive since decontrol, the marts are closely watched and I have no evidence that rings are operating.

Mr. Collins

asked the Minister of Food if he is aware that some cattle and sheep which have been already sold at auction have been sold a second time so as to attract two deficiency payments on the same animals; and what action he is taking in the matter.

Mr. Amory

Two alleged cases of this kind are at present before the courts and certain other suspected cases are under investigation. My local officers maintain a constant watch for attempts to present animals which have already been certified under the scheme.

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