HC Deb 22 March 1967 vol 743 cc1704-5
27. Mr. Buchanan-Smith

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what further action he will take to co-ordinate the importation of dairy products with home production.

Mr. Peart

Butter imports are regulated by quota. Broadly speaking, other milk products are freely admitted. The Government have at present no proposals for altering these arrangements.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that increasing quantities of dairy products are being dumped in this country from Europe, and that skimmed milk from Austria is being subsidised at the rate of £100 a ton? Is he also aware that butter regulations are being dodged by milk products being presented in a different way, such as in butter oil?

Mr. Peart

The hon. Member, if he makes charges like that, must prove whether dumping has occurred. I have no evidence. If it can be shown that dumping harms our home industry, then we will look at it.

Mr. Brewis

Is it not very disappointing that the forecast of home butter production is down about 15 per cent. this year? Why should this be so?

Mr. Pearl

The hon. Member knows how we concentrate here on the liquid milk market. I am anxious to make certain that reasonable quantities are produced, but we have international obligations in this matter. We have a butter quota arrangement, endorsed by my predecessors, and carried on by me.