Production Costs.

Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture. – in the House of Commons on 4th March 1940.

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Mr. De la Bère:

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, in view of the fact that many agricultural products, including livestock, have been controlled at prices below the cost of production, he would confer with the Minister of Food with a view to preparing a comprehensive schedule of costs of production for the agricultural industry, with a view to these costs, plus an agreed reasonable percentage, being substituted for the existing controlled prices, since at the present time it is impossible for the farmer to obtain a fair return for his products?

Photo of Sir Reginald Dorman-Smith Sir Reginald Dorman-Smith , Petersfield

I cannot accept my hon. Friend's statements that the prices of many agricultural products have been controlled at levels below the cost of production or that farmers are not receiving fair returns for their produce; and I would remind him of the undertaking already given that future prices will take account of increases in production costs. In the circumstances I do not propose to adopt his suggestion.

Mr. De la Bère:

Is it not a fact that wrong methods have been employed—if there have been any methods at all? What other industry in the whole country would be asked to produce under the cost of production and to produce more? The whole thing is absolutely unsatisfactory.

Photo of Sir Reginald Dorman-Smith Sir Reginald Dorman-Smith , Petersfield

Perhaps my hon. Friend would help me to improve the position.

Mr. De la Bère:

Most certainly. I would gladly help.