HC Deb 03 February 1965 vol 705 cc1061-2
15. Mr. Ian Gilmour

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will consult the President of the Board of Trade to prevent the dumping of eggs from Eastern Europe during the peak period of production in this country.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mr. James Hoy)

No, Sir. I have no reason to believe that the number of eggs coming from Eastern Europe is likely to be sufficient to threaten the home industry.

Mr. Gilmour

The importation of even a very small number of eggs disrupts the market. As the egg industry is in a very sensitive condition now, will the Minister do his best to take action along these lines as soon as possible?

Mr. Hoy

No, the importation of eggs is so small that it does not have any appreciable effect on the home market.

22. Mr. Evelyn King

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what was the value of eggs imported into this country from Eastern Europe during 1964; and from which countries they came.

Mr. Hoy

In the first 11 months of 1964, from January until November, the total value of shell eggs imported from Eastern Europe was £400,600, and the value of egg products was £541,000. These imports came from Poland, Roumania, Hungary and Czechoslovakia.

Mr. King

Is not the hon. Gentleman aware that more than 20 per cent. of these imports came from Poland? Is he able to justify that figure? Has he not revealed that in this way we are losing more than £1 million? Did he not, in reply to a previous Question today, say that the amount was negligible? In the light of what his right hon. Friend is doing and telling us about the value of small exports, does he regard £l million as negligible in the balance of payments?

Mr. Hoy

I do not regard £1 million as negligible. I think that my record on the Public Accounts Committee will prove that. If we are to expect to sell to other countries, they have to expect that we will buy from them. Let me make it perfectly clear that the amount of egg imports is relatively negligible in relation to the total supply of eggs available to the consumer in this country.

Mr. Prior

Is not the hon. Gentleman aware that his attitude now is in stark contrast to the attitude taken by Labour candidates throughout the country before the election when they were constantly urging farmers to go for more import controls, giving the impression that they would back them in that?

Mr. Hoy

The hon. Gentleman's interpretation of what everybody else was saying has no relation to fact.