§ Mr. Anthony Stodart
I would refer my hon. Friend to the answers which I gave on 19th October to Questions from my hon. Friends the Members for King's Lynn (Mr. Brocklebank-Fowler) and Shrewsbury (Sir J. Langford-Holt).—[Vol. 823, c. 532–3; Vol. 823, c. 82.]
§ Mr. Stodart
Yes, Sir. The British Sugar Corporation has a £30 million expansion programme in hand for the factories which exist at present.
§ Mr. Moyle
Does the hon. Gentleman agree that, since the negotiations in Brussels, Her Majesty's Government's first priority in this connection must be to maintain the supply of Commonwealth sugar to this country? Should not the Government lend their influence to a policy of restraint in this country and in Europe in the consumption of beet sugar?
§ Mr. Stodart
Until the end of 1974, we are taking the whole of the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement quotas. Thereafter, we have a firm assurance from the E.E.C. of a secure and continuing market for the Commonwealth sugar quota countries.
§ 11. Mr. Brocklebank-Fowler
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what plans he has for promoting the construction of new sugar beet factories in the United Kingdom.
§ Mr. Brocklebank-Fowler
While thanking my right hon. Friend for that reply, may I ask whether he is prepared to give a firm estimate of the annual increase in domestic sugar beet acreage likely after 1974?
§ Mr. MacArthur
Is my right hon. Friend aware of the deep concern in Scotland about the apparent lack of progress in the negotiations between the private enterprise consortium and the British Sugar Corporation in this matter? Will he please give some further reassurance about acreage questions which are of such concern?
§ Mr. Prior
When my hon. Friend and I last answered Questions, my hon. Friend made it clear that acreage was not the main problem. The main problem is agreement between two independent companies—the consortium and the British Sugar Corporation—on a price for the factory. That is the point that the negotiations have reached at this stage.
§ Mr. Cledwyn Hughes
What did the right hon. Gentleman mean when he said that after 1974 there would be "all to play for"? Does not that contradict his hon. Friend's reply to the question of my hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, North (Mr. Moyle) about the future of the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement? Will the right hon. Gentleman be more precise?