HC Deb 20 April 1971 vol 815 cc937-8
29. Mr. Farr

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what proportion of total United Kingdom sugar consumption in 1969 and 1970 was supplied by member countries of the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement.

Mr. Anthony Stodart

The proportions were 67 per cent. and 62 per cent. respectively.

Mr. Farr

As so high a proportion of our sugar comes from Commonwealth sources, will my hon. Friend ask my right hon. Friend not to tamper with this source of supply, which has become a part of history and serves to put first-class cheap sugar on our tables?

Mr. Stodart

The review is a triennial one. The agreement for 1972–74 comes up for review in the autumn. No doubt my right hon. Friend will take note of what my hon. Friend has said.

Mr. Strang

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there is some speculation that in the present E.E.C. negotiations the Government are considering a formula by which the Commonwealth sugar-producing countries would be allowed to supply less sugar but would be paid a higher price for it? For obvious reasons those countries are against such a proposition. Can the hon. Gentleman assure the House that such a formula is no longer being seriously considered?

Mr. Stodart

The members of the Community have been told that the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement is a contract up till 1974, and they have been asked for continuing arrangements after that for imports from the developing countries. We have not yet had a formal reply from them, but the problem is admitted.