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Pig And Poultry Rations

Volume 438: debated on Monday 9 June 1947

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50.

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is in a position to state the basic ration for poultry during the next winter period; and whether the basic ration for this period will be less than the present ration.

65.

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he will announce as soon as possible the scales of pig and poultry rations for the next period in order to enable stockkeepers to plan ahead.

No, Sir. I am not yet in a position to announce the scales of pig and poultry rations next winter, but these will be decided as soon as possible in the light of the available feeding-stuffs supplies, the national need for a steady expansion of pig and poultry breeding and of the production of pigmeat and eggs, and, in the case of poultry, the normal practice of autumn culling.

Can the right hon. Gentleman give any indication of how soon he will be in a position to make an announcement on this subject? Could he possibly answer the last part of the Question whether the ration for the next winter will be, at least, not lower than the ration that prevails at this moment?

I am sure the noble Lord will be aware that I am entirely in the hands of the Ministry of Food, who are responsible for importing feedingstuffs; and as my right hon. Friend the Minister of Food is in the hands of those who sell and transport feedingstuffs, no assurances or guarantees could be given until the feedingstuffs arrive.

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that the present shortage of feedingstuffs is really the biggest obstacle of all to further output in agriculture, and that stockkeepers—pig and poultry keepers—have really had a tough time?

I can assure the hon. Member that we are as fully aware of that as he is himself. The Minister of Food has done all he can to provide the maximum quantity of feedingstuffs from wherever those feedingstuffs have happended to be.

In view of the statement the right hon. Gentleman has made about the Minister of Food, will he reconsider the suggestion that I made some time ago to remove the Minister of Food from the Agriculture Committee?