HC Deb 06 November 1961 vol 648 cc593-4
9. Mr. P. Browne

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps he proposes to take to prevent a recurrence of the low market realisation prices for beef, mutton and lamb this summer.

Mr. Soames

The low prices were the result mainly of heavier marketings of home-produced stock, due in part to the increase in our livestock population and in part to the influence of the weather on the pattern of marketings. There were exceptional circumstances in marketing this summer which will not necessarily be repeated next year.

Mr. Browne

In view of what my right hon. Friend has said, would he not consider that it is time to control the importation of these products at the time of high home killing periods? Would he not also consider the encouragement of a meat marketing board for the benefit of both farmer and consumer?

Mr. Soames

Both of my hon. Friend's supplementary questions raise big issues, not least the fact that, with regard to lamb from New Zealand, we have arrangements for the unrestricted free entry for their lamb. In the case of lamb from New Zealand and beef from the Argentine, a long sea passage is involved. Apart from any other aspects of the matter, it would be very difficult from a machinery point of view to implement.