HC Deb 15 March 1960 vol 619 cc1106-7
29. Mr. Wade

asked the President of the Board of Trade, in view of the fact that the price to farmers of sulphate of ammonia is considerably higher than prevailing world prices, and that there is an import duty on nitrogenous fertilisers, including sulphate of ammonia, which helps to keep up the price in this country, and that this price is in part paid for by subsidy, whether he will remove the duty on nitrogenous fertilisers and thereby enable the subsidy to be reduced and at the same time enable some competition to be introduced into the fertiliser industry.

Mr. Erroll

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave to a Question on sulphate of ammonia by the hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey) on 10th March. My right hon. Friend is always ready to consider applications from representative bodies of users for reduction or removal of duty on other nitrogenous fertilisers.

Mr. Wade

Is it not a farcical position that an industry which is admittedly in a monopoly position should be supported both by a tariff and by a subsidy? Would it not be a practical step, which could be taken immediately, to reduce prices to remove the import duty?

Mr. Enroll

The import duty is under examination, and any question relating to subsidy is for my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture. Fisheries and Food.

Mr. Hirst

Is my hon. Friend aware, admitting all the considerations I have just heard, that this industry is extremely well organised today—[An HON. MEMBER: "Too well organised."]—that it is firmly capable of standing up to world competition, and indeed is desirous of doing so, and that on those grounds the import duty could be reconsidered?

Mr. Erroll

All factors are being taken into account.

Mr. Willey

As the Minister has referred to the reply he gave me, can he tell me when I shall get a satisfactory reply?

Mr. Enroll

Yes, Sir, when the information becomes available.

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