§ 10. Sir A. Meyer
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what has been the trend in world food prices during the last 12 months, from information available from international services.
§ Mr. Prior
Information published by the United Nations indicates that for food and feedingstuffs exports, prices on various world markets rose on average by about 4 per cent. between the second 702 quarters of 1969 and 1970; quotations on world markets for a number of important foodstuffs show that prices continued to increase during the second half of 1970.
§ Sir A. Meyer
Does my right hon. Friend agree that that Answer, taken in conjunction with his Answer to the hon. Member for Midlothian (Mr. Eadie), suggests that arguments about a vast increase in the price of food which we shall have to pay as a result of joining the Common Market are, to put the matter at its lowest, extremely shortsighted?
§ Mr. Golding
Do not the figures also show that the attacks on us by the Conservative Party last June were completely bogus? Do not they show that the increases in food prices occurring then were beyond the control of the then Government, but that food price increases envisaged in the coming year, because of taxes put on at the ports, will be well within the control of the present Administration?
§ Sir Harmar Nicholls
With reference to the question of my hon. Friend the Member for Flint, West (Sir A. Meyer), does my right hon. Friend accept that there is nothing shortsighted in recognising that the immediate increase in food prices will reflect itself in wage demands which may well disrupt the whole competitiveness of this country at a vital time in our history?
§ Mr. Cledwyn Hughes
Does the Minister agree that if he stabilises prices at the present level, the price of cereals, for example, will be at a very high level and will inevitably result in high feed prices and create difficulties, particularly for the stock farmer?