§ Major Dower
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware of the difficulty the farmers are experiencing in Cumberland in obtaining supplies of basic slag under the land fertility scheme; and what steps, if any, he proposes to take to rectify this shortage?
§ Mr. W. S. Morrison
As regards the first part of the question, I am aware that the supplies of basic slag now available are not sufficient to meet the demand. I have no reason to suppose, however, that there is any preferential treatment in the distribution of the available supplies to the different parts of the country.
As regards the second part, the supply of this fertiliser is, as my hon. Friend will be aware, entirely dependent upon the output of certain kinds of steel, and is not, therefore, a matter over which I have any control, I understand, however, that the steel output in October last showed an advance of 100,000 tons over that of the previous month and that there was a further increase in November; and I am hopeful that with the reduction in 2352W price over a wide range of iron and steel products as from 1st January next, which has recently been announced, there will be a consequent increase in the supply of basic slag.