asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he is aware that if hill-sheep stocks are to be maintained an announcement on future Government policy in connection with the hill-sheep-subsidy payment is desirable before the autumn ewe sales are held; and will he indicate whether such an announcement will be made before these sales take place?
The question of further subsidy assistance to the hill-sheep industry is under consideration. My hon. Friend will appreciate the difficulty of dealing with this matter until there is some information as to price-levels at the various sales. I am aware, however, of the importance many people attach to an early announcement, and every effort will be made to expedite a decision.
Will the Minister bear in mind that at our autumn lamb sales prices will have to rise at least 4s. per head before hill breeders can participate in the rise already given in respect of fat sheep? It is a very important point, and I hope my hon. Friend will bear it in mind. The position will not be improved in respect of 1942 as against 1941 until the rise indicated takes place.
The hon. Member will be aware that the decision last year was not formally announced until towards the end of November, but the point he makes will be borne in mind.