HC Deb 15 May 1968 vol 764 c1193
1. Mr. Hastings

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will compute the increased costs to the horticultural industry as a result of new and increased taxes, surcharges, wage increases and general inflation since 1st January, 1965.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mr. James Hoy)

Estimates of the aggregate cost change for agriculture and horticulture together have been published in the Annual Review White Papers. About one-tenth of the total for all products may be attributed to horticulture.

Mr. Hastings

Does the Minister fully appreciate that, unlike almost every other industry, horticulture is quite unable to recover these costs from the market? Does he appreciate that the position is reaching critical proportions for very many growers, and that something must be done? Would he make a start by persuading the Chancellor to cut out the fuel oil surcharge?

Mr. Hoy

The hon. Gentleman had better direct the latter part of his supplementary question to the Chancellor. I agree that growers have been suffering increased costs, and we took this into account at the Annual Review. Obviously one has to keep one's eye on other things, too.