HC Deb 02 November 1966 vol 735 cc451-2
32. Mr. Marten

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will increase the share of the British bacon market for British pigs.

62. Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he is satisfied with the present operations of the Bacon Market (Sharing) Agreement; and if he will make a statement.

11. Mr. Brewis

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether the United Kingdom will meet its bacon quota this year under the market sharing agreement; and what the shortfall is likely to be.

Mr. Peart

The Bacon Market Sharing Understanding has been working reasonably well in difficult conditions. I cannot now say how supplies from any country, including the United Kingdom, will finally compare with its minimum allocation for the year ending next March. I shall, of course, have full regard to the interests of our own industry when we discuss next year's shares with the other countries.

Mr. Marten

But is the Minister aware that out of the first 26 weeks of the current pig year, so to call it, the British quota has been reached in only two? Will he agree that this is really due to the lack of action in the last Annual Price Review and is not the fault of the fanners? When he comes to renegotiate our share, will he bear this in mind, remembering that it is more the Government's fault than the farmers' fault, and press for a higher allocation for the British share?

Mr. Peart

I told the hon. Gentleman that we shall be discussing this with our suppliers. It would be wrong for me to be dogmatic about the situation. It has nothing to do with what we did in the last Annual Price Review. The situation regarding bacon production is really fundamental.

Mr. Godber

Will the Minister take it that I shall be saying a good deal about this tomorrow? We are all deeply dissatisfied.

Mr. Peart

The right hon. Gentleman has already said that. I shall be delighted to answer him tomorrow.

Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

Will the right hon. Gentleman now confirm that the home bacon industry will not fulfil its quota of the market this year? Has he noticed that bacon imports have increased by £12 million on the balance of payments this year? What does he propose to do to stop this increase in view of the situation in the bacon industry at this time?

Mr. Peart

I cannot accept that. We must wait till we have had our discussions. The problem of pig supply is not peculiar to the country, as the hon. Gentleman must know.