HC Deb 05 May 1960 vol 622 cc1245-6
23. Mr. Prior

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the expenditure on farm subsidies, represented as a percentage of total national expenditure, for the years 1955–56 to 1959–60.

Mr. Hare

Expenditure on agricultural support in the United Kingdom expressed as a percentage of total Government ordinary expenditure for the four years 1955–56 to 1958–59 was 4.6 per cent. 4.9 per cent., 5.8 per cent. and 4.7 per cent. respectively, and for 1959–60 it is an estimated 4.9 per cent.

Mr. Prior

Do not these figures confirm that in real terms farmers are receiving slightly less than they were a few years ago? Will my right hon. Friend confirm, in view of recent rumblings to the contrary, that it is the Government's intention to keep a prosperous and healthy agricultural industry which will pay a fair return to farmers and farm workers alike?

Mr. Hare

I readily respond to what my hon. Friend said. It is the intention of the Government to keep a prosperous and flourishing agricultural industry. The agricultural industry has the benefit of the 1957 Act, and it also has a pledge by the present Government that the percentage alterations on which cuts could be made would not be altered during the lifetime of this Parliament.