HC Deb 03 February 1965 vol 705 cc1071-2
26. Mr. Eldon Griffiths

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will give an assurance that the recent steep rise in farmers' costs of production will be taken into account in the price review.

Mr. John Mackie

Yes, increases in farmers' costs will be taken into account, together with all other relevant factors.

Mr. Griffiths

I am sure that the farmers will appreciate that reply and will hold the hon. Gentleman to it. Is he not aware that an industry which is making a remarkable contribution not only to the increase in production in this country, but also to the balance of payments, is suffering genuine difficulties, especially among small farmers, because of the petrol tax and higher interest rates? Will he consider in the Price Review getting rid of these excessive taxes and also giving the farming community a chance to earn its share of the home market?

Mr. Mackie

If the hon. Gentleman was in the House yesterday, he would have heard my right hon. Friend promise that the levy would be taken off as soon as practicable. All other costs will be taken into account and we are especially considering the position of small farmers.

Mr. Soames

Would it be right to assume that the increased cost to the industry in the coming year will be well in excess of £25 million, a large part of it as a direct result of the Government's actions?

Mr. Mackie

No, it would not be right to assume that.

Mr. Snow

Does my hon. Friend recall that I recently submitted for his examination figures about milk production in this country showing that, of eight substantial items connected with the industry, recent price increases were prior to October?

Mr. Mackie

Yes, I saw those figures and they will be taken into account.