HC Deb 18 April 1972 vol 835 cc211-2
8. Mr. Strang

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the criteria which producer marketing organisations will have to comply with if Great Britain enters the European Economic Community.

Mr. Prior

Article 1 of EEC regulation 159/66 contains a definition which applies to horticultural producers' marketing organisations only. An English text is published in Part 28 Section 1 of the pre-accession texts of the secondary legislation of the European Communities.

Mr. Strang

Will the Government consider publishing a consultative document on the changes which they think should take place in our marketing arrangements, in order that we can have an open public discussion on this matter rather than just a series of meetings, which is envisaged in this year's Price Review?

Mr. Prior

I shall consider what the hon. Gentleman says. It would be very difficult to frame an open consultative document along the lines he suggests, but this is a very important matter. It is still a little too early to say which general course we can take, because the EEC has not yet made up its mind. But I will consider what the hon. Gentleman has said in a few weeks' time when we perhaps know a little more about what is in its mind.

Mr. Hicks

Does my right hon. Friend agree that there is a need for growers, merchants and other interested bodies to realise the importance of setting up such producer organisations as quickly as possible so that we can take full advantage of the benefits that will result?

Mr. Prior

That is true, but we must be certain that the sort of organisation we encourage growers to set up is in line with the EEC organisations, so that we can obtain financial advantage from them.

Mr. Deakins

Will the right hon. Gentleman assure the House that the pooling of transport costs, which is very important in the operation of the Milk Marketing Board, has been approved by the EEC authorities, and that there is no danger of that marketing board or any others being asked to change its ways to the detriment of the interests of producers remote from the market?

Mr. Prior

I should like to reassure myself on that question, but I have no reason to think that we shall have to abide by any particular rules of the Common Market in this respect, because I think they are purely voluntary rules which each country can choose for itself. But I will check and let the hon. Gentleman know.

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