§ 11. Mr. Hawkins
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he estimates that the increase in the guaranteed price for pig meat will recoup pig farmers for the increased costs.
§ 16 and 17. Mr. Monro
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) whether he estimates that the increase in the guaranteed price for milk will recoup dairy farmers for their increased costs;
(2) whether he estimates that the increase in the guaranteed price for beef will recoup beef farmers for their increased costs.
§ Mr. Hoy
Costs, like output and productivity, vary considerably between different farms. I am satisfied that, after taking into account all the relevant factors, the increased guaranteed prices will ensure that the momentum of expansion in pig, milk and beef production will be maintained in accordance with the objectives of the selective expansion programme.
§ Mr. Hawkins
But has the Minister not just said that beef production was beginning to fall or had fallen this year? Does not the hon. Gentleman agree that the farmers, including the pig farmers, have recently had very large costs added to their production?
§ Mr. Hoy
The hon. Gentleman has referred to beef production. I would remind him that we have had the foot-and-mouth epidemic which has meant the retention of a considerable number of animals. It is true that pig costs have increased, but the bulk has been for feed, 349 where there is an effective price guarantee which is automatically raised every week to meet this situation.