§ 18. Mr. Maginnis
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what estimate he has formed of the loss in income of the agricultural industry over the last five years; and how this compares with the average change in income level in Great Britain as a whole in the same period.
§ Mr. Soames
Figures for Great Britain are not available, but for the United Kingdom as a whole, the income of farmers increased by 18 per cent. between 1958 and 1962. Total personal income increased by 28 per cent., but while the number of farmers is stable or even declining somewhat, the size of the population rose aver this period by about 3 per cent.
§ Mr. Wall
Is my right hon. Friend aware that farmers believe that their standard of living has not kept pace with the general rise, and that they believe 15 that his Ministry sometimes overlooks the fact that the greater capital invested in the industry has to be serviced? Would he consider publishing the comparative figures for the agricultural and other comparable industries?
§ Mr. Soames
The rise in total personal incomes is, of course, dominated by the rise in wages, which has been such a marked feature of the post-war economy. Farm income necessarily tends to rise more slowly than other income, when the demand for other goods and services is rising faster than the demand for food. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman would let me have more details as to what are the figures he wishes me to give him.