§ 14. Mr. Jay
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will publish a further White Paper bringing up to date the estimates of the 413 effect on United Kingdom balance of payments to cost of living of joining the European Economic Community given in paragraphs 73 to 89 of Command Paper No. 3274.
§ Mr. Hoy
As I said in reply to an earlier Question, and as my right hon. Friend will appreciate, certain changes have to take place as from the beginning of next year. The Community itself has to decide what its policy will be in regard to the Mansholt Plan and other arrangements. My right hon. Friend will understand the difficulty in giving more information until these are settled.
§ Mr. John Wells
When considering the possibility of entering the E.E.C. from the agricultural point of view, will the right hon. Gentleman take steps to match the statement made on agriculture by my right hon. Friend the Member for Grantham (Mr. Godber) on 10th May, 1967, when he gave a specific pledge about our party's attitude on horticulture?
§ Mr. Leadbitter
Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that in Cmnd. Paper 3274, although there is speculation on the analysis of the effects on this country in joining the Common Market, there was nevertheless a calculation that the increase in cost of foodstuffs would be of the order of 10–14 per cent. and that is equivalent to an increase in the cost of living of 2½ to 3½ per cent.? This is a matter of serious concern. Will my right hon. Friend undertake to assure the House that we shall have a White Paper giving further calculations very shortly?
§ Mr. Turton
As The Guardian has estimated this cost on balance of payments at £593 million net and the Financial Times estimated the cost to the consumer at £844 million, surely the right hon. Gentleman has a responsibility to this House and the country to publish accurate figures as quickly as possible?
§ Mr. Hoy
As I said, we are bound to take these things into consideration, but it would not be wise to do so until the Community has made up its mind. Then, obviously, any Government are bound to take account of what the effect would be in their own domain. This is the assurance I gave the right hon. Gentleman.
§ 34. Mr. Hooley
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what studies his Department is making of the consequences of the British and Commonwealth sugar producers of British entry into the European Economic Community.
§ Mr. Hooley
Since, apparently, our application to go into the Common Market is on the table, would it not be wise to examine the situation as of now as it would affect Commonwealth sugar producers? I understand that it would be catastrophic for countries like Mauritius and Fiji, which depend upon the British market.
§ Mr. Hoy
Yes, indeed. I can comfort my hon. Friend by telling him that we have these commitments to the Commonwealth of which I spoke earlier. We have already told the Six that we have a contractual obligation under the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement until 1974. I think that this can be accommodated under the arrangements of the Six. Certainly, we would wish to discuss how the interests of the developing Commonwealth countries under the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement could be safeguarded even in the longer term.
§ Mr. Scott-Hopkins
What has been the advantage to Commonwealth countries, particularly Mauritius, Fiji and the West Indian islands, of the Agreement in the last six years? How much would they lose if we were to join the E.E.C.?