Dumping of German Wheat.

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons on 30th October 1929.

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Photo of Mr Morgan Price Mr Morgan Price , Whitehaven

I do not think that has arisen at all. What is happening in Germany is that the German Exchequer is losing revenue and the German consumer is paying by having to pay for wheat above the world price. In other words, Germany is trying to stabilise the price of wheat above the world market price. I should say that was an argument for our not using the obsolete method of tariffs and subsidies, but to try to stabilise our wheat, not above but at world market prices. An hon. Member opposite was quoting the Farmers' Union, to which I am proud to belong, as saying that there is no use in stabilising wheat except at a profit—cost of production, plus a reasonable profit—but there is an enormous advantage in ironing out the continuous fluctuations, in other words getting rid of the frightful element of speculation in the growing of wheat. Last year I could not get more than 8s. 9d. a cwt. It was not worth, selling to the miller at all. It is obviously a case for pushing forward the policy of stabilisation as far as one is able to do it under the present conditions.

Every autumn farmers have to face a fall in wheat prices. That is generally due to the fact that they have to find cash to meet certain commitments. It is either rent or, if they own their own farms, they have very often to find mortgage interest for the banks. They are pressed heavily to find cash, and the result is that in certain parts of the country with which I am acquainted they have to throw their wheat on the market, no matter under what conditions. The threshing machines are overwhelmed with orders to come along and thresh, and the consequence is that the millers will not take more than a certain amount. Anything above a cerain percentage they will have to store, and possibly charge extra prices for storage. Consequently, there is a reduction in the price. Therefore, I am not going to object to the fact that the Minister has not seen his way to give a full statement of what he can do to-day. I am confident that he will work out some scheme by which it will be possible to bring ourselves into line with general world developments. After all, there is coming throughout the world a general system whereby wheat and articles of general consumption will be handled by a few big concerns. It is obviously desirable, as a general public policy, that those concerns that handle such important articles as food and raw materials should be under public control in one form or another. It need not be a bureaucratic State concern, but some kind of public utility concern in which the interests of consumer and producer are represented. I know the enormous difficulties in dealing with this problem. I should be the last to object to the Government not unfolding their policy on a Private Member's Motion. At the same time I am glad the question has been raised because it is one of the utmost importance to the agricultural community.