asked the Minister of Supply and of Aircraft Production if he is aware that the recent altera- tion in grading prices for flax will cause substantial losses to flax growers in Scotland; that on the farm of the largest grower in Scotland the loss is estimated a £10 per acre; that as a result many growers may be compelled to discontinue flax production; and what action he is taking in the matter.
During the war it was necessary to secure the greatest possible production of flax in the United Kingdom and very high prices were therefore paid for it. But now, with the availability of cheaper flaxes from abroad and the need for flax for the very important export trade in linen manufactures, it has been necessary to reduce the prices paid for home grown flax and to concentrate production in those areas where the most satisfactory results can be obtained. This will involve in 1946 a reduction in the acreage grown and in the number of factories in Great Britain, but the prices to be offered are such that farmers in the neighbourhood of factories should make a reasonable profit. Directions to grow flax will not be issued and it is not anticipated that there will be any difficulty in securing the acreage desired.