Russian Cereals (Imports).

Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture. – in the House of Commons on 20th March 1934.

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Photo of Mr Herbert Williams Mr Herbert Williams , Croydon South

37.

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that the imports of wheat, oats, and barley in the first two months of the year from Soviet Russia were 3,479,422 cwts. as compared with 457,062 cwts. in the same period last year; and what steps he proposes to take to deal with this growing competition to British agriculture?

Photo of Mr Walter Elliot Mr Walter Elliot , Glasgow Kelvingrove

I am aware of the facts referred to in the first part of the question, but I would point out to my hon. Friend that the total imports during the period in question declined by 5 per cent. The Government has taken and is taking energetic steps to safeguard the interests of the home cereal industry, but it would not be possible within the limit of question and answer to describe these steps in detail.

Photo of Mr Robert Boothby Mr Robert Boothby , Aberdeenshire and Kincardineshire Eastern

Is my right hon. Friend aware that oats subsidised by foreign Governments are being imported into this country, and does he propose to take any steps to prohibit their importation?

Photo of Mr Walter Elliot Mr Walter Elliot , Glasgow Kelvingrove

I am afraid I could not enter into any discussion with my hon. Friend by question and answer. The question of the subsidisation of foreign oats is one of the most difficult in the whole range of our import duties.

Photo of Captain Archibald Ramsay Captain Archibald Ramsay , Peebles and Southern

Will the right hon. Gentleman listen to further representations on the subject?

Photo of Major Abraham Lyons Major Abraham Lyons , Leicester East

Will the right hon. Gentleman stop the importation of subsidised oats?

Photo of Mr Walter Elliot Mr Walter Elliot , Glasgow Kelvingrove

As I was saying to my hon. Friend the Member for East Aberdeen (Mr. Boothby), the House knows well that the subsidisation of oats is one of the most difficult questions to determine.

Photo of Mr Jack Lawson Mr Jack Lawson , Chester-le-Street

Are these oats in part payment for our herring?