§ 31. Mr. Jopling
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is aware of the loss of income suffered by farmers whose principal business is the production of store sheep and cattle, caused by the low market prices in the last few months; and what action he intends to take to assist them.
§ Mr. Peart
After a long period during which the market—for store cattle in particular—has been strong, prices declined sharply this autumn. Even so, the general price level is above that of earlier years. More recently, the tone of the market has improved, especially for good forward beef stores and the better quality store sheep. Farm income is a matter which we look at in the Price Review.
§ Mr. Jopling
Is not the Minister aware that these last three months have been absolutely vital for the whole year for farmers of this type, and does not he realise that there is a very serious crisis? Many of them, including many in his own constituency, are facing ruin. Will not the right hon. Gentleman get off his bottom and do something about it?
§ Mr. Peart
I am aware of what has been the state of the market. I have said this before. There are reasons for it of which the right hon. Gentleman is well aware. I am glad that the market is now becoming stronger. The question of help to farmers in these areas is a matter for the Annual Price Review.