The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mr. W. M. F. Vane)
The Government guarantee is designed to maintain producers' returns for their wheat. If the guarantee were abolished, home production would be likely to fall heavily and the gap would be filled by imports. Very little bread made entirely from home-grown wheat is sold in this country and it would be difficult to make any worthwhile estimate of the ultimate effect of such a change on the price of bread. In practice millers' bread flour grists contain only about 20 per cent. of home-grown wheat on average.
I have not worked out the arithmetic in the same way as has my hon. Friend, so I should not like to comment on that figure. It is true that, on the whole, the support system works out to the advantage of the consumers as well as the producers.
§ Mr. Lipton
Although the Minister is already in very serious trouble with the Treasury because of his £65 million Supplementary Estimate, is it not also a fact that, when the new bread and flour regulations come into force some time next year, the price of better quality bread and flour is likely to be increased?
Better quality articles generally tend to be more costly than those of less good quality. But we had better wait until the Order comes into operation before we become too precise.