HC Deb 17 March 1971 vol 813 c1406
23. Sir J. Gilmour

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received from the Scottish horticulture industry since the recent announcement of increased oil fuel charges; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

My right hon. Friend has considered the report of the meetings which I have had with representatives of the Scottish National Farmers' Union on this question. I cannot, however, encourage users of fuel oil to look for special Exchequer support on this account.

Sir J. Gilmour

Does my hon. Friend agree that it is apparently common knowledge that the Dutch are subsidising oil supplies for their horticulture? As we have an application in to join the Common Market, unless the Government take action they will build up a great prejudice against the Common Market and thereby cause great trouble, because they do nothing to help horticulture.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

I appreciate my hon. Friend's feelings on this point, but, as we have made clear on other occasions, we believe that the home industry at the moment—and it is the present moment we are talking about—should be protected where it is sensitive by tariffs and quotas.

Mr. Maclennan

Does the Minister's disturbing reply indicate that he is prepared to stand idly by and see the horticultural industry in Scotland go under, in the way he stood by and watched the sugar beet industry go under?

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

Not at all. I would ask the hon. Gentleman to refer that to his right hon. Friends and to reflect that it was they who were so slow in dealing with any anti-dumping order. I would ask him to remember that just last week within four days of a request by the industry we acted with an anti-dumping order on cauliflowers coming to this country, and this swift move was very much welcomed by the farming industry.