HC Deb 16 November 1971 vol 826 cc195-6
7. Sir R. Turton

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps towards the better marketing of agricultural products he proposes to take by means of legislation to amend the Restrictive Trade Practices Acts, 1956 and 1968.

27. Mr. Hastings

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he is satisfied with the relevance of the Restrictive Trade Practices Acts with regard to agriculture; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Anthony Stodart

My right hon. Friend and his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry have received a memoranrum from the Farmers' Unions on the subject of the restrictive trade practices legislation. Discussions are still proceeding with the National Farmers' Union and there is nothing further I can usefully say at present.

Sir R. Turton

Will my hon. Friend realise that this is an urgent matter since the three National Farmers' Unions have represented that any advice they give on the Government's policy for the expansion of agriculture and efficient marketing is being hampered by the present legislation?

Mr. Stodart

I realise the anxieties of the National Farmers' Unions, but this is a highly complex subject. There is no evidence of acute difficulties or of anything vital being held up, and the marketing boards and various other organisations are protected from the legislation.