Home Food Production.

Oral Answers to Questions — Peace Treaties. – in the House of Commons on 2nd August 1922.

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Captain TERRELL:

53.

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the definite pledges given to British farmers in October, 1919, that home food production should be encouraged, the injury inflicted last year upon cereal growers by the failure to give four years' notice of intention to repeal the Corn Production Acts, and the risk that now exists of restricted production in the principal branch of the agricultural industry namely, stockbreeding, he will consider the desirability of immediately adopting an agricultural policy which will confer a greater measure of stability on the industry?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN:

The Government have definitely abandoned any policy which involves interference by the State in the business of farming. Their present policy is to encourage home food production by extending and developing the provision of agricultural research and education, for which an additional sum of £1,000,000 was voted by Parliament last year, and by endeavouring to give some relief from the burdens which agriculture has to bear, such as has been granted this year in connection with Income Tax assessments. I hope that this policy may be continued by all parties as the best means of assisting agriculture, and that by such means the industry will be given stability and confidence to develop on its own lines without undue interference by the State.

Captain TERRELL:

Does the Government consider that the position of the agricultural industry in this country today is satisfactory, and, if so, do they think that to-day's position has been brought about by the agricultural policy of the Government?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN:

No. Sir: I do not think that to-day's position has bean brought about by the agricultural policy of the Government, nor do I think that the present position of agriculture is more satisfactory than the general condition of the industries throughout the country. We are suffering from world conditions which we may do something to alleviate, but the position can only be put right by the common action of many nations.