Oral Answers to Questions — Bacon.

– in the House of Commons at on 8 November 1937.

Alert me about debates like this

Mr. De la Bère:

asked the Minister of Agriculture what steps the Government are taking to supply the public with good British bacon at a reasonable price, in view of the operation of the restricted quotas?

Photo of Mr Robert Gibson Mr Robert Gibson , Greenock

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he has any statement to make regarding the supply of pigs to curing factories; and whether he intends to continue the scheme restricting the output of these factories?

Photo of Mr Alfred Barnes Mr Alfred Barnes , East Ham South

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he will take steps to remove the anomaly which now arises in connection with the bacon and bacon-development schemes under which curers may be allotted a bacon-production quota by the Bacon Development Board, but may riot, in fact, be able to utilise the whole of this production quota owing to a lower scales quota imposed by the Bacon Marketing Board?

Photo of Mr William Morrison Mr William Morrison , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

Since the introduction of the Pigs and Bacon Marketing Schemes the quality of British bacon has considerably improved, the quantity has doubled, while the price index of bacon is less than that of food in general. As the House will be aware, consultations are now proceeding with the Pigs and Bacon Marketing Boards regarding the future organisation of the bacon industry, and it would be premature, therefore, to make any statement on the points raised by the hon. Members.

Mr. De la Bère:

Will my right hon. Friend do something to protect the small curer so that he can produce good bacon for the public? Will he not only protect the large man but show some consideration for the small curer in the provinces who is threatened with complete destruction through no fault of his own, but for having committed the crime of being a British subject?

Photo of Mr William Morrison Mr William Morrison , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

My hon. Friend is prophesying very confidently something that is going to happen as a result of the inquiry now pending, but I undertake to see that all legitimate interests in this matter are protected.

Photo of Sir Francis Acland Sir Francis Acland , Cornwall Northern

Can the right hon. Gentleman say for how many years it will be premature to make a statement on the subject?

Photo of Mr William Morrison Mr William Morrison , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

I do not think I need answer that question. I hope it will not be a matter of years. I hope to make a statement as soon as practicable.

Mr. Alexander:

Although British bacon has improved in quality since the bacon scheme has been in operation, is it not a fact that recently the quality has been deteriorating, and in these circumstances how long are we to wait before we get a statement?

Photo of Mr William Morrison Mr William Morrison , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

The right hon. Gentleman admits an improvement in quality owing to the scheme, and in the course of the negotiations now proceeding I am doing my best to see that that improvement is maintained.

Photo of Mr Thomas Williams Mr Thomas Williams , Don Valley

Will the right hon. Gentleman say which years he is taking for comparison when he says that the output of bacon has been doubled?

Photo of Mr William Morrison Mr William Morrison , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

I am taking the last complete year of the operations of the scheme and the year before the scheme was initiated.

Photo of Mr Thomas Williams Mr Thomas Williams , Don Valley

Does the right hon. Gentleman infer that the quality of bacon produced has doubled, and not the quantity of bacon?

Photo of Mr William Morrison Mr William Morrison , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

My reply was specific. I said that under the operation of the scheme the quantity of bacon has doubled.

Photo of Mr George Griffiths Mr George Griffiths , Hemsworth

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the retail price of bacon is 4d. per lb. more than it was a year ago?

Photo of Mr William Morrison Mr William Morrison , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

The price of bacon is cheaper than it was before the depression, and before the National Government came in. Bacon, as a matter of fact, has risen less in price than foodstuffs in general, and food prices have risen less than other commodities.

Photo of Sir Percy Hurd Sir Percy Hurd , Devizes

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether the information in his Department shows the causes of the increase in pig population as shown in the Returns of 4th September as compared with the census of 4th June; and whether that information indicates that the decline in the industry has now been arrested?

Photo of Mr William Morrison Mr William Morrison , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

The increase in the number of pigs between 4th June and 4th September this year is of a seasonal character, but as this is the first occasion on which information regarding the numbers of pigs in September has been obtained, it is impossible to say whether the seasonal increase recorded this year is greater or less than normal.

Photo of Mrs Mavis Tate Mrs Mavis Tate , Frome

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that large quantities of bacon are being imported from overseas, cured in this country, then advertised and sold as home-cured bacon; that though this may be a technically correct designation it is misleading to the general public, who purchase it believing it to be home produced; and whether he will take steps to ensure that the public shall be aware of the actual source of produce they purchase?

Photo of Mr William Morrison Mr William Morrison , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

Imported bacon is required to be marked with an indication of origin under the Merchandise Marks (Imported Goods) No. 3 Order, 1924. I am not aware that large quantities of imported bacon are subjected to a further process of curing before sale, but foodstuffs which have undergone a process of curing in the United Kingdom are expressly excluded from the operation of the Merchandise Marks Act, 1926.

Photo of Mrs Mavis Tate Mrs Mavis Tate , Frome

In view of the fact that I am informed by the agricultural industry that a large amount of this bacon is being imported into this country and then cured, that in many instances it is of inferior quality and is prejudicing the housewife against what she believes to be English bacon, will the right hon. Gentleman look into the matter if I put the facts before him?

Photo of Mr William Morrison Mr William Morrison , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

I will certainly look into the matter. My information is that this practice is not on a great scale, but I shall be obliged if the hon. Member will give me the information in her possession.

Mr. Alexander:

Is not the remedy to get the British farmer to keep his contract?