HC Deb 07 December 1971 vol 827 cc1110-1
13. Mr. Farr

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps his Department are taking to promote the consumption of English cheeses in Europe.

Mr. Anthony Stodart

I am confident that the English Country Cheese Council and the trade as a whole are alive to the export possibilities. We shall make sure that within an enlarged European Economic Community the trading arrangements, both in the transitional period and later, provide a fair opportunity for the development of our trade in cheese.

Mr. Farr

While I am grateful to my hon. Friend for what he said, is he aware that there is almost total ignorance of the quality of English cheeses, such as Stilton and Leicester, on the Continent, and will he take steps to promote an export drive to make these qualities better known?

Mr. Stodart

My hon. Friend may be encouraged to know that exports of cheese from the United Kingdom were 29 per cent. up in 1970 over 1968. The consumption of cheese in the Community is very high. The Dutch eat twice as much per head as we do, and the French three times as much. The market has tremendous possibilities.

Mr. James Hamilton

As a Minister who represents a Scottish constituency, will the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that there are also very good Scottish cheeses and will he ensure that they, too, make a tangible contribution in this regard if, by some misfortune, we do enter the Common Market.

Mr. Stodart

I will undertake to draw the attention of my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland to what the hon. Gentleman said.

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