HC Deb 13 July 1961 vol 644 cc580-1
39. Mr. Peyton

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what will be the cost to the Exchequer of supporting the price of barley during the current financial year.

Mr. Soames

The original estimate of the cost of the barley guarantee in the financial year 1961–62 was £37.8 million. This covers the final payments on the 1960 crop and the advance payments on the 1961 crop. The recent fall in market prices affected only late sales from the 1960 crop and so will not greatly affect the forthcoming final payment on that crop. The advance payment on the 1961 crop cannot yet be determined, but I do not at this point of time expect the cost of the barley guarantee for the current financial year to be greater than was originally estimated.

Mr. Peyton

Is my right hon. Friend aware that that last piece of information is welcome? However, will he bear in mind that the recent massive influx of barley into this country has done a great deal to discredit the efficacy of the present anti-dumping policy? Will he ensure that, if the estimates prove larger than he thinks, it will not be attributed as barley subsidies to farmers?

Mr. Soames

With regard to antidumping legislation, I think that my hon. Friend will be aware that in this instance there were less than three weeks between the application being put in by the National Farmers' Union and the decision being taken by my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade.