HC Deb 03 February 1965 vol 705 cc1073-4
30. Mr. Snow

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is his present policy towards the desire of the National Farmers' Union to increase average farm income by 25 per cent., in view of the wide variety and size of farming businesses.

Mr. Peart

We intend to promote an efficient agriculture in which farmers can earn a fair reward. The trend of farmers' incomes will of course be one of the factors considered at the Annual Review and we shall have regard to the type and size of farm businesses. But incomes cannot be considered in isolation from the other relevant factors which must be taken into account each year.

Mr. Snow

Is my right hon. Friend aware that all the farmers I have met in my part of Staffordshire are prepared to shoulder their part of the national burden bequeathed to them by the previous Administration and that his policy of ensuring a reasonable and decent improvement in incomes will be in sharp contradistinction to their experience under Tory Administrations?

Mr. Peart

I am glad that my hon. Friend has made such a forceful comment, but he must be aware that this matter will be considered in the Annual Review.

Mr. Soames

Will the right hon. Gentleman show us that in this Review, which is shortly to begin, he intends to give a considerable increase in farmers' incomes in the coming year?

Mr. Peart

The right hon. Gentleman knows full well that if I responded to that question it would be highly improper.

Sir C. Osborne

Does the right hon. Gentleman believe that the incomes of farmers or the wages of farm workers can increase unless the prices for what they produce are increased?

Mr. Peart

I am well aware that the wages of farm workers are affected by many factors, one of which is the improvement of farming efficiency in the broad sense.