HC Deb 27 October 1970 vol 805 cc16-7
30. Mr. David James

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will take steps to ensure that sufficient credit facilities are made available to finance agricultural expansion.

Mr. Stodart

Agriculture is already among the industries that have priority for bank lending for productive investment, and the Agricultural Mortgage Corporation has funds available to meet longer-term needs.

Mr. James

While I am sure that will console my farming constituents, will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that many farmers will have real difficulty in financing next year's crop, let alone agricultural expansion?

Mr. Stodart

If I may give my own experience on this matter, my own credit facilities are a great deal better at this moment than they were, in my view entirely due to the change of Government.

Mr. Mackie

Is that due to the Minister's new salary or to his farming propensities?

Mr. Stodart

It is certainly not due to the first suggestion.

Sir H. Harrison

Would my right hon. Friend not agree that the best way the Government can help farmers and other industries is by restoring the economy and confidence in the £ and bringing down interest rates?

Mr. Stodart

Yes, Sir.