HC Deb 03 February 1965 vol 705 cc1072-3
29. Mr. Ridley

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will start negotiations to agree a system of import levies for meat with the United Kingdom's main suppliers.

Mr. Peart

No, Sir. It would be of no help to producers or consumers to restrict imports of meat at the present time, whether by import levies or other means.

Mr. Ridley

Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that there is some need to put a limit on the Exchequer liability for deficiency payments for meat? In view of the unfortunate breakdown of the meat quota talks last year, would he not agree that there is a case for exploring the possibility of agreeing—and I emphasise "agreeing"—levies with our main suppliers as an alternative?

Mr. Peart

I would have thought that the hon. Gentleman would appreciate that there was a strong demand for meat in the world and that to have a restriction of that kind would be unworkable and harmful to the consumer.