Skip to main content

Livestock Prices

Volume 486: debated on Monday 9 April 1951

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.


asked the Minister of Food if he is aware that Scottish butchers are convinced that the prices now paid for fat cattle and sheep vary too much from month to month and that a level price throughout the year would have the effect of creating more steady and regular supplies of beef and mutton on the market; if he has considered this view; and whether he proposes to make any adjustments in the present prices.

The suggestion that there should be a level price for fat cattle and sheep throughout the year has been considered on several occasions and rejected on the broad ground that it fails to take account of the varying costs of production at different seasons and would exaggerate the already pronounced autumn peak of marketings.

How long ago was that so? Is the Minister aware that today—not last year—butchers take a different view? Has he considered that new view?

As the hon. Gentleman will be well aware, these matters have recently been in the minds of those who are negotiating.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the only way he will get increased production of beef in this country is to encourage—and not discourage, as has been done—production off British pastures? Will he look into the question, as meat production in winter is quite uneconomical?


asked the Minister of Food why in view of the dearth of butchers meat, his Department does not pay a remunerative price for fat calves, thereby making it economical for farmers to feed for veal production many of the bobby calves, totalling 660,000 a year, which are slaughtered at a few days old.

Will the Government take a decision quickly this spring while the calves are there and an increasing amount of milk is available to feed them?

We will not take a decision without fully discussing the matter with the National Farmers' Unions.

Can the hon. Gentleman help the agricultural industry by saying when he will arrive at a decision as the matter is a very urgent one for the farmers?

It would be quite wrong of me to give any indication during the discussions.