HC Deb 04 February 1960 vol 616 cc157-8W
39. Sir A. Hurd

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what was the total cost of the egg subsidy and the average payment per dozen eggs in the last financial year; and to what extent the revision of the subsidy arrangements at the 1959 price review has reduced the subsidy payments,and consequently the prices received by producers, in this financial year.

Mr. John Hare

The total estimated cost of the egg subsidy in the financial year ending March, 1959 was £33.7 million. This represents an average payment of about 1s. O¼d. per dozen eggs. At the 1959 Annual Review the guaranteed price to the British Egg Marketing Board was reduced by Id. per dozen, but in spite of this the subsidy in 1959–60 is expected to rise to £36 million, representing an average rate of 1s. 0¾d. per dozen. The average minimum price received by producers this year is likely to be about 5d. per dozen less than last year. The Board is responsible for fixing these minimum prices, which are affected by various factors apart from the rate of subsidy. Under the risk sharing arrangements, the heavy fall in market prices this year has substantially reduced the Board's returns.

40. Sir A. Hurd

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what reply he has given to representations from poultry breeders who are finding a sharp decline in orders for day-old pullet chicks; and if he is satisfied that enough pullets will be reared this season to maintain egg production at a level that will not necessitate additional egg imports to meet consumers' requirements.

Mr. John Hare

I am aware of the concern expressed at the reduction in orders for day-old chicks. The effect of this on production prospects is being studied by my Department and will be considered together with other relevant factors at the forthcoming Annual Review. In the meantime, I prefer not to anticipate the conclusions of the Review on this point.