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Eggs (Marketing And Prices)

Volume 526: debated on Thursday 29 April 1954

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asked the Minister of Agriculture if agreement has now been reached with the National Farmers' Union on the terms of an egg marketing scheme.

No, Sir. The National Farmers' Unions have replied to certain of the Government's comments on their proposals for an egg marketing scheme and discussions on outstanding points are continuing.

Can the Minister give the House an assurance that the broad points of principle have been agreed and that only minor points which can be quickly cleared up now remain outstanding?

No, Sir. I cannot give that assurance. Discussions will continue until, I hope, we get final agreement.


asked the Minister of Agriculture if he will give details of the factors newly taken into account this year in determining the monthly support prices for eggs sent to packing stations.

This year the annual average price guaranteed to producers for eggs will vary, through an agreed formula, with the annual average price of feedingstuffs. In addition, the seasonal minimum prices will be determined from time to time, not necessarily monthly, in relation to current market prices and the level of supplies reaching the packing stations instead of being determined, as previously, at the start of the year. The seasonal minimum prices will be calculated in such a way that the annual average guaranteed price will be 4s. a dozen, subject to the operation of the feedingstuffs formula.

Will the result of this arrangement be that the support price, while giving the farmers what they are entitled to get from the packing stations, will not be such a heavy charge on the Exchequer as was the case last year?

That would depend upon what the retail price was. The formula which has been devised is very complicated, but it has been devised in complete agreement with the producers.

Can the right hon. Gentleman assure us that the changes will not be made so suddenly as completely to confuse egg producers?