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Food Production (Policy)

Volume 527: debated on Thursday 13 May 1954

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asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, in view of the uncertainty of farmers throughout the country in connection with the development of their production of food, the Government's future agricultural policy is for an expansion or for a controlled contraction of home production in this country.

I would direct my hon. Friend's attention to paragraph 11 of the recent White Paper on the 1954 Annual Review and Determination of Guarantees, which clearly states that the expansion of net output to 60 per cent, above pre-war is still a major objective.

May I ask my right hon. Friend how he thinks, in view of the quantifying and many other matters which the Chancellor has alluded to, it is possible to relate them to any possible form of expansion? Does he realise that the matter cannot be lightly dismissed? I shall continue to ask questions about this.

Perhaps my hon. Friend will remember that I suggested that he should read the White Paper. May I also suggest that, as well as reading the White Paper, he should read the answer to a Question which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member foe New-bury (Mr. Hurd) the day before yesterday, which shows a remarkable expansion in production.

Will the right hon. Gentleman also advise his hon. Friend to read paragraph 13 of Command Paper No. 9104—the latest White Paper —and inform his hon. Friend exactly what the Chancellor meant when he said "They might start to quantify production."

I do not think it would be appropriate to reply by way of question and answer, but I have a note to remind my hon. Friend of paragraph 13 of the White Paper. So far as this year is concerned, the only arrangements that provide for any kind of limitation are those for milk.

Does the Minister think that that answer will be regarded by the hon. Member for Worcestershire, South (Sir R. De la Bèere) as "thoroughly unsatisfactory"?