§ 24. Lieut.-Colonel Lipton
asked the Minister of Agriculture the estimated current rate of pig production compared with last year.
Forthe year ending 31st May, 1955, it is estimated at 720,000 tons of pigmeat compared with 606,000 tons a year earlier. These estimates, which relate to the United Kingdom, include production for domestic consumption.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Lipton
Are we to take it from that reply that the present state of pig production is not, in the Minister's view, excessive, although it has meant a big Supplementary Estimate? Will the Minister also say that it is not his intention, by cutting the subsidies, to penalise these pig producers for producing more pigmeat? I ought to add that I have an interest in this matter.
I too have a very great interest in this matter. I repeat what I have said several times in the last six months—that the number of pigs produced during the latter part of last year were not more than I was glad to see in 544 the country as a whole, but that any further increase in the numbers must be accompanied by some reduction in costs.
§ Mr. de Freitas
What is the Minister doing to encourage an increase of curing capacity to meet the increased number of bacon pigs available this year?
I think that the industry concerned is well able to assess that position and to take whatever action is necessary.
Air Commodore Harvey
How does my right hon. Friend expect prices to go down when the cost of feedingstuffs is constantly increasing?
Feedingstuffs are not the only factor in the situation. If my hon. and gallant Friend looks at the position, I think that he will be quite impressed by the variation in the cost of production between one producer and another.