– in the House of Commons on 21st May 1935.
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether any estimate has been made showing the number of people who would, in the case of the cessation of support to the sugar-beet industry, be thrown out of work, and what the charge of such people would be on the public assistance of the country; and, if not, whether he will instruct his advisers to make an investigation on these lines?
The United Kingdom Sugar Industry Inquiry Committee made a careful survey of the employment value of the industry and their observations are given in Chapter IV of the Majority Report, and in paragraphs 53 to 57 of the Minority Report. As the Committee found, it is impossible to indicate, in precise figures, the aggregate number of people to whom the sugar-beet industry gives employment, directly and indirectly, whole-time and part-time, but the number is obviously considerable. I do not think, therefore, that further investigation would serve any useful purpose, but I can assure my hon. Friend that full account will be taken of this aspect of the problem in the consideration which is now being given to the question of future policy.
May I ask whether the Minister realises that it is almost impossible for farmers to grow alternative crops and, therefore, if the sugar-beet crop is done away with, practically all those now employed in the industry will be thrown out of work?
I know that the difficulty of finding alternative crops is considerable, and that is one of the factors I have to keep in mind.
Has the right hon. Gentleman made any estimate of how many people will be thrown out of work if he withdraws his milk subsidy, his beef subsidy, and his other subsidies?
I think the number would be 1,100,000 as far as I can calculate at the moment. Neither my hon. Friend nor I would wish to see that.
Has the right hon. Gentleman made any calculation as to the number of people who could be put on small holdings if he spent the same amount of money on small holdings?