HC Deb 05 April 1967 vol 744 cc212-3
2. Sir J. Gilmour

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the acreage of sugar beet likely to be sown in the factory area of the Cupar Sugar Factory in the season 1967; and whether he is satisfied that the present price structure for the growing of beet in Scotland is adequate.

The Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Norman Buchan)

The British Sugar Corporation expects about 7,000 acres to be sown. As to the second part of the question, I would remind the hon. Gentleman that the guaranteed price for beet has now been raised by 2s. 6d. I consider that the present price structure for beet-growing in Scotland is reasonable having regard to the subsidy on transport.

Sir J. Gilmour

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that, as a result of the Price Review, arable farmers in the east of Scotland in sugar beet-growing areas are worse off financially than they were before and it is now essential that he and his right hon. Friend should give extra money for the sugar beet crop, because the sugar factory is losing money and this is going the wrong way about helping the industry?

Mr. Buchan

That is an extraordinary question to be put by a Member of the Opposition, which reduced the transport subvention in 1963, whereupon the amount of sugar at 15,000 tons began to drop alarmingly. We have increased the transport subvention overall to about two-thirds with an additional 2s. 6d. this year. We should await the effects of this.

Sir J. Gilmour

In view of the very unsatisfactory nature of that answer, I beg to ask leave to raise the matter on the Adjournment as soon as possible.