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Wages And Prices

Volume 441: debated on Monday 28 July 1947

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asked the Minister of Agriculture if, in the special review of farm produce prices now required to meet prospective increases in farm wages, full weight will be given in fixing new prices for each product to the increased costs that will be borne by that product.

If the Agricultural Wages Board confirm the proposed increase in wages, the procedure for a special review will be that described in the statement accompanying my reply to the hon. and gallant Member for King's Lynn (Major Wise) on 21st November last.

Does the Minister's reply mean that every farmer, large and small, will be recompensed fully for the increased wages he will be required to pay?

No, Sir, I did not say anything of the kind, but referred to the statement made on 21st November.

Is the Minister aware that the uncertainty being created in the minds of all producers, pending the result of the special review, is having a very bad effect on the industry as a whole? Is the Minister satisfied that there will not be a large drop in production as a result of this adjustment in the middle of the cropping year?

I should have thought that the sympathy and practical help the Government have given to the industry, during the past seven or eight months, ought to satisfy them that there is no need for anxiety on their part. I can assure the House, as and when the time comes, that the same beneficent treatment will be meted out.