HC Deb 14 April 1965 vol 710 cc1390-1
22. Mr. Brewis

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what estimate he has made of the increase in costs to Scottish dairy farmers caused by the reduction in the lime and fertiliser subsidies; and how much this represents in pence or fraction of pence per gallon produced.

Mr. Willis

The effect of this reduction will vary from farm to farm, depending upon the extent of the particular change in efficiency and input. Any general estimate would be misleading.

Mr. Brewis

Has the Minister seen that the price given by the Scottish Milk Marketing Board will average only 0.61d. and that this reduction has to come off the farmer? Does the hon. Member think that dairy farmers' increased costs were recouped in the last Price Review?

Mr. Willis

Increased costs were taken fully into consideration at the last Price Review.

Mr. Monro

Is the Minister aware that in the present hard times for dairy farmers it is essential to get the maximum production from grass? Does he further realise that the increase in costs of fertiliser and lime are a very serious handicap?

Mr. Willis

I cannot accept that this will be a very serious handicap. In fact, the increase will be very, very small. In any case, I imagine that most dairy farmers will still find it profitable to keep up their use of fertilisers and lime.

Mr. William Hamilton

Does my hon. Friend recognise the difference in the attitude of the Opposition to subsidies to a nationalised industry such as coal and subsidies to a privately-owned industry such as farming? Can he say why subsidies should be given at all for fertilisers, the use of which is in any case very good husbandry?

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