HC Deb 02 March 1966 vol 725 cc1275-6
11. Mr. Farr

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what yardstick he intends to employ to calculate the element of increased efficiency in the forthcoming Price Review discussions.

Mr. Peart

There can be no precise calculation of the amount which the industry gains through increasing efficiency. The method used is a broad assessment, taking one year with another and having regard to increases in the physical productivity of farming and in the scale of operations. As foreshadowed in last year's Annual Review White Paper, the assessment is being reconsidered with the farmers' unions at the Annual Review now in progress.

Mr. Farr

I am grateful to the right. hon. Gentleman for that reply, but cannot he tell us a little more about it? The change to this procedure was foreshadowed in the last White Paper. It means a great deal to all farmers that a more realistic approach is made to the question of increased efficiency.

Mr. Peart

I accept what the hon. Member says, but he will appreciate that in view of the fact that this matter is being considered with the farmers' unions at the Annual Review now in progress, I cannot add more to my reply.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Is the Minister aware that farmers who show increased efficiency are rewarded by having increases in their rents, that rents have gone up by 27s. an acre, amounting to 1½d. in the gallon on milk? Is this the way to encourage efficiency?

Mr. Peart

I accept that this was a very important factor, but this matter is now being considered.

Mr. Scott-Hopkins

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the figure of £25 million which has been the figure taken into account in previous Price Reviews will also be used in the coming one?

Mr. Peart

I cannot give the hon. Member a specific reply on that. He knows—he ought to know, as a former Minister in the Department—that this matter is now being considered.