§ 33. Mr. Sydney Irving
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what reply has been given to the request made to him by the National Council of the British Association of Pig Producers for a review of agricultural policy.
§ 36. Mr. Dodds
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he has considered the resolution of the National Council of the British Association of Pig Producers, a copy of which has been sent to him, expressing their lack of confidence in Her Majesty's Government's pig policy; and what reply he has sent.
§ Mr. John Hare
The Association was informed that the terms of its resolution on the Government's pig policy, which had been sent to the Prime Minister, had been noted. The position of the pig industry will of course come up for reconsideration at the Annual Review which will begin next week.
§ Mr. Irving
Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that the December figures show the pig population to be down by 3 per cent., and by 10 per cent. on the figures for a year ago, and that the deep concern that has led the National Council of the British Association of Pig Producers to move a motion of no confidence in the Government means that unless the Government do something very quickly there will be permanent damage to the industry? Will the Minister bear that in mind in the weeks to come?
§ Mr. Dodds
Does not the right hon. Gentleman think it a reflection on his Ministry that this body should bypass the Minister and go to the Prime Minister to ask that action should be taken? Does not he appreciate that the complacency which he has shown for such a long time has exhausted the patience of these persons, and that it is hoped that he will do something before long?
§ Mr. Willey
While not expecting the right hon. Gentleman to anticipate his Price Review statement, may I ask whether we may assume that he will endeavour during the next few weeks to extract himself from the awful muddle which is now disturbing pig producers?
§ 38. Mr. Grant-Ferris
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will give urgent consideration to the possibility of paying the quality premium on pigs in the form of a production grant.
§ Mr. John Hare
I am sure that my hon. and gallant Friend will appreciate that this proposal has been put forward by the National Farmers' Union and is a matter for the forthcoming Annual Review. I cannot comment further at this stage.
§ Mr. Grant-Ferris
Whilst appreciating that my right hon. Friend cannot say very much at the moment, may I ask if he realises that the disincentive of 2s. a score has done much to reduce the national herd and that we must pay much more attention to quality if we want to maintain our standards?