HC Deb 02 March 1964 vol 690 cc898-9
8. Mr. Snow

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food why he does not keep records of actual prices paid by farmers for sugar beet production machinery in the light of the refusal of the manufacturers concerned to agree to the publication of such figures; and what redress he will secure for farmers who are faced with sudden and unpredictable increases subsequent to Annual Price Review computations.

Mr. Scott-Hopkins

Information about the prices of sugar beet production machinery is available to my Department, and the effect of changes in the cost of this machinery is taken into account at the Annual Review. Any subsequent price increases would be taken into account at the following Review.

Mr. Snow

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that this Question is prompted by an earlier reply to a Question about these costs which was transferred to the Board of Trade, appearing to indicate that his Department was not fully seized of all that was going on and of some of the anxieties of farmers not only about the costs of machinery but of tractors as well? Is he aware that I have seen a letter from a machinery manufacturer which gave farmers seven days' notice to place their orders for new machinery, after which time prices would go up quite considerably? Is he satisfied that farmers are getting a fair deal when these unpredictable price changes take place?

Mr. Scott-Hopkins

There is no doubt that whatever price increases do occur in respect of farm machinery are reflected in the Annual Review. I assure the hon. Gentleman that we get these figures and they are taken into account at the Annual Review. On that score, therefore, he need have no concern.

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