HC Deb 07 July 1960 vol 626 cc681-2
21. Mr. Scott-Hopkins

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will state the quantity of beef imported into this country, in recent months, to the latest convenient date, from Commonwealth sources and the Argentine.

Mr. Hare

In the first five months of 1960 total imports of beef from the Commonwealth amounted to 29,000 tons, while from the Argentine during the same period, 84,000 tons were imported.

Mr. Scott-Hopkins

Is my right hon. Friend aware that farmers will watch with anxiety the rising amount of imports coming into this country in the last few months? Will he consult his right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade in view of the Government's declared policy to see that home production is safeguarded by not allowing excessive imports of Argentinian or Commonwealth beef?

Mr. Hare

No. If my hon. Friend studies the figures of imports for this year and last year, he will see that imports have not risen. I am very glad to say that there will be an increase in home production during the next twelve months, which will help to meet the marked shortage of beef.

Mr. Willey

Will the right hon. Gentleman agree that there has been a substantial fall in beef supplies and that we want all the beef we can get from where we can get it?

Mr. Hare

That is the point I was trying to make to my hon. Friend. It is fair to say that it is not due to any action on our part that we are receiving less imports from the Commonwealth countries, which are finding the United States market more attractive.