HC Deb 26 March 1969 vol 780 cc1615-6
34. Mr. Henry Clark

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will now announce the results of the recent survey of comparative production costs and farm incomes in Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

Mr. John Mackie

Leaving aside Northern Ireland's higher feed prices, costs of production taken as a whole are much the same as those in Great Britain. Farm incomes are lower mainly as a result of the difference in farm structure. Comparable farms in Great Britain show similar income trends.

Mr. Clark

Would the hon. Gentleman agree that when he leaves aside the higher feed costs he leaves aside the whole problem? Could he say what the increase in feed costs is to Northern Ireland farmers compared with the increase to equivalent farmers in this country?

Mr. Mackie

I could not give the hon. Gentleman details about feed costs, but, as I said in my Answer, there has not been an appreciable difference overall. The income trend in the type of farming in which the hon. Gentleman is interested is the same as the income trend in the same type of farming in this country.

Mr. Peter Mills

Would the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that Northern Ireland has a particular problem in the production of eggs? Would he ensure that before the subsidy is taken away completely something is done to help Northern Ireland producers?

Mr. Mackie

I will bear that in mind. I am glad that the hon. Gentleman is taking an interest in another part of the world.

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