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Feeding Stuffs (Prices)

Volume 345: debated on Monday 20 March 1939

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34.

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, in view of the operations of the price-fixing associations which exist and which have resulted in producers being charged unreasonably high prices over a long period, he will take steps in forthcoming legislation to give financial facilities and encouragement to bodies such as the National Poultry Council, the Milk Marketing Board, and the Bacon Development Board to purchase feeding stuffs and wheat offals direct from the growers and producers?

While I appreciate the motive underlying my hon. Friend's question, I doubt whether in every case mentioned by him it would be appropriate for the bodies to engage in the supply of feeding stuffs to their members. Provision is, however, made in the Agricultural Marketing Acts to enable a board to buy and to sell to registered producers anything required for the production of a regulated product, and it is for the boards concerned to make such use of this provision as they think fit.

Does my right hon. and gallant Friend not realise the far-reaching and adverse effect on the dairy farmers and pig producers of the high cost of feeding stuffs, and can he say what steps he intends to take to stop this absolute scandal that has been going on for years?

I am always glad to have my hon. Friend's observations. It is in the hands of the marketing boards for them to carry out.

Does not this arise out of the tariff policy of the Government?

Does my right hon. Friend appreciate the fact that since the marketing boards were first instituted, public opinion has changed and would now welcome a tariff policy?