Bacon Curing Industry

Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture, Fisheries and Food – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 2 July 1959.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Frederick Willey Mr Frederick Willey , Sunderland North 12:00, 2 July 1959

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the percentage of the production capacity of the British bacon curing industry at present being used for bacon production.

Photo of Mr John Hare Mr John Hare , Sudbury and Woodbridge

The most reliable figures show that the production of bacon factories in Great Britain during the months of April and May this year was 67 per cent. of the highest output ever attained; and for the first three weeks of June, it was 64 per cent.

Photo of Mr Frederick Willey Mr Frederick Willey , Sunderland North

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the industry regards his figure as most misleading, that in fact in 1954 the bacon curing industry was encouraged to expand its capacity, and that, therefore, the Government have some responsibility towards this industry which is now, according to his own figures, working to only about 40 per cent. of capacity? Will he also bear this in mind during the discussions with the Danish Government?

Photo of Mr John Hare Mr John Hare , Sudbury and Woodbridge

I have tried to give the House the most reliable figures I can. It is practically impossible to assess what is the potential capacity of these factories, for the basis of the estimate varies. It may be slaughtering capacity, cooling capacity or tank capacity. I have tried to give the House the most reliable figures available to me.

Photo of Mr Francis Noel-Baker Mr Francis Noel-Baker , Swindon

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations he has received from the Swindon area regarding the critical position of the British bacon caring industry; and what reply he has made.

Photo of Mr John Hare Mr John Hare , Sudbury and Woodbridge

I have the letter and enclosure which the hon. Member has sent me and he should now have had my reply. I propose to discuss tomorrow, with the British Curers' Federation, the representations which they have made to me on behalf of their industry.

Photo of Mr Francis Noel-Baker Mr Francis Noel-Baker , Swindon

Is the Minister aware of the very great anxiety among people in and around Swindon, who are exceedingly proud of the Wiltshire bacon curing industry and who feel very strongly on this matter? Will he look at this aspect of the problem very carefully?

Photo of Mr John Hare Mr John Hare , Sudbury and Woodbridge

I am sure that the members of the Federation will make this very clear in the talks tomorrow.