Wages and Prices.

Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture. – in the House of Commons on 19th February 1942.

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Photo of Mr Tom Smith Mr Tom Smith , Normanton

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is now in a position to make a statement relating to prices of agricultural products consequent upon the recent increase in wages costs?

Dr. Russell Thomas:

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether the revised list of agricultural prices has now been fixed; and whether the increased cost will fall on the Treasury or on the consumer directly?

Photo of Sir Henry Morris-Jones Sir Henry Morris-Jones , Denbigh

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he has any statement to make about the proposed increased prices to agricultural producers?

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Southport

I regret that I have nothing to add at the moment to the reply given to Questions by my hon. and gallant Friends the Members for Lonsdale (Sir I. Fraser) and Sudbury (Colonel Burton) on 12th February, but I hope to be able to make an announcement during the course of the next few days.

Mr. De la Bère:

Will my right hon. Friend bring home to the Treasury the disastrous consequences of this wholly unnecessary delay?

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Southport

I cannot accept the suggestion that the delay has been wholly unnecessary. I have often told hon. Members that there is a singular lack of statistics for the agricultural industry, and as a result it is possible to hold perfectly honest and sincere opinions about costings which differ widely from each other, and the task of reconciling these calls for patience and statesmanship and requires time. That is what we are engaged upon at the present time.

Major Cazalet:

May I ask whether in fixing these prices the Government are taking into account the kind of crops which they wish to be planted in the spring?

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Southport

Owing to the weather during the last six weeks, there has been a complete hold-up of agricultural operations, and therefore the delay, though regrettable, has not in fact done any harm.

Mr. De la Bère:

The same specious arguments used over and over again by the Treasury are not a solution.

Photo of Mr Ronw Hughes Mr Ronw Hughes , Carmarthen

Is the Minister bearing in mind, in fixing these prices, the need for having prices which will represent a return to the small farmer?

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Southport

All relevant considerations are being borne in mind.