Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture. – in the House of Commons at on 12 December 1932.

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Photo of Sir Frank Sanderson Sir Frank Sanderson , Ealing


asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he will consider increasing the duty on imported potatoes to a figure which will effectively stop the price-cutting which is taking place at the present time and enable the potato grower in this country to obtain a reasonable price for his product?

Photo of Mr Walter Elliot Mr Walter Elliot , Glasgow Kelvingrove

As my hon. Friend is doubtless aware the duty on imported potatoes other than new potatoes was increased in July last as the result of an application made to the Import Duties Advisory Committee by growers, and the question of any further increase is still a matter for the Committee.

Photo of Sir Joseph Lamb Sir Joseph Lamb , Stone

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the supplies of home-grown potatoes are quite adequate?

Photo of Mr Walter Elliot Mr Walter Elliot , Glasgow Kelvingrove

Yes, Sir. I think they are more than adequate. That is one of the difficulties to which the trade is turning its attention.

Photo of Major James Despencer Robertson Major James Despencer Robertson , Salisbury


asked the Minister of Agriculture what steps are being taken, or are to be taken, for the reorganisation of the potato industry?

Photo of Mr Walter Elliot Mr Walter Elliot , Glasgow Kelvingrove

As my hon. Friend will be aware, the Government has already intimated its willingness to appoint a Reorganisation Commission for potatoes if and when growers desire this step to be taken. I am glad, however, to note that the National Farmers' Union are themselves making considerable progress in the preparation of a potato marketing scheme which they have discussed with the Scottish National Farmers' Union and with representatives of the distributive trade. The Government will, of course, give any such scheme when received its most careful consideration.

Photo of Brigadier-General Sir Ernest Makins Brigadier-General Sir Ernest Makins , Knutsford


asked the Minister of Agriculture whether his attention has been called to the fact that, despite the recent increase of duty on foreign importations into this country, the present index price for potatoes is 120 as against 210 in October last year; and whether, in consequence, he proposes to take any steps to remedy the situation so far as British farmers are concerned?

Photo of Mr Walter Elliot Mr Walter Elliot , Glasgow Kelvingrove

I am fully aware of the fall in potato prices this season as compared with last. I would, however, point out that imports during the months of October and November, 1932, were very small, amounting to less than 5 per cent. of the imports for the corresponding months of 1931, and that the home crop of potatoes this year is greatly in excess of that of last year. It therefore appears to me that the problem of potato prices is primarily a problem of the home crop and, as my hon. and gallant Friend will know, growers' organisations in England and in Scotland are actively at work in preparing a marketing scheme to which, when received, the Government will certainly give its careful consideration.