HC Deb 03 February 1971 vol 810 cc1661-2
23. Mr. MacArthur

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions he has held regarding the future of pea growing in Scotland; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

I am aware of the concern caused to pea growers by recent announcements made by processing firms. My right hon. Friend discussed this question recently with the leaders of the Scottish National Farmers' Union and I have seen one of the firms principally concerned. We are keeping a close watch on developments in the processing field.

Mr. MacArthur

Is my hon. Friend aware of the pressing need for more crop-processing plants in Scotland? Can he give any hope of progress?

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

I am grateful for the help which my hon. Friend has given me in this difficult matter. The fall-back in pea processing in Scotland is on account of falling demand in recent years, but we hope that this will be put right and that we shall see an increase in processing in Scotland.

Mr. Mackintosh

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there are promising developments in this direction in the Eastern Borders and that the Government should look with favour on them and give all the assistance they can in a large area which is entirely suitable for growing vegetables to be processed?

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman. There is tremendous scope for co-operation among producers, processing firms and others. We are encouraged by what is happening on the Borders and elsewhere, and the Government will give all the help they can.