HC Deb 08 February 1972 vol 830 cc1109-10
1. Mr. Strang

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what further representations he has had about the possibility of establishing a marketing board for cereals.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mr. Anthony Stodart)

I am aware that the N.F.U. has had the possibility of a marketing board for cereals under consideration. In view of my right hon. Friend's responsibilities under the Act, it would not be appropriate for me to say more at this stage.

Mr. Strang

Surely the Minister is aware that, notwithstanding the attitude of the N.F.U. leadership, this issue perhaps more than any other is causing great anxiety in agriculture? Does he not accept that the present state and the prospects of the cereals market make it necessary for the Government to take some initiative, and would not it be better for them to do so long before this year's crop hits the market?

Mr. Stodart

The hon. Gentleman must be aware that for the establishment of a marketing board—which is what his supplementary question is based on—the initiative must come from the producers.

Mr. Mackie

If the Minister is trying to keep the price of barley within sight of the Common Market price, as he said more than a year ago, what body will intervene if there is not to be a marketing board?

Mr. Stodart

The intervention authority in due course.