HC Deb 02 December 1970 vol 807 cc1275-6
23. Sir J. Gilmour

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what account will be taken of the records of yields of wheat in Scotland as compared with England in arriving at an acreage payment for the support price of wheat in place of the present method.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

This calculation is done for the United Kingdom as a whole and due consideration is given to high yields.

Sir J. Gilmour

Since the average yields in Scotland are 2 cwt. better than in England, does not this mean that Scottish wheat growers will be subsidising English farmers? Will my hon. Friend see that he gets a proper quid pro quo from his right hon. Friend in any future negotiations?

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

I appreciate my hon. Friend's concern but I ask him to bear in mind two things: first, what we are doing benefits the livestock farmers in Scotland who grow wheat—and the livestock industry in Scotland is particularly important—and, secondly, this move simplifies and reduces considerably the costs of administration.

Mr. Douglas

Will the hon. Gentleman concede that one of the reasons that we have had such good yields in Scotland is the good advice given by the Scottish Agricultural Department in regard to seed usage? Will he continue this good advice in order to remove any fear of diseases in wheat during future years?

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his comment. We hope that this new system will encourage the spread of wheat growing in Scotland.