§ 20. Mr. Edwin Wainwright
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the guaranteed price of barley in the United Kingdom for the coming year; what is the present market price; and how these figures compare with the present basic intervention price in the European Economic Community.
§ Mr. Peter Mills
The guaranteed price of barley for 1972–73 is £31.20 a ton. The present United Kingdom market price is £26.73. The European Economic Community's basic intervention price is currently £40.51.
§ Mr. Wainwright
In spite of the figures that the Minister has given, is he aware that the Government policy of consistency to help the home farmer is so ridiculous that the farmer today does not know where he stands? Is the hon. Gentleman aware that barley in Britain this year is £9 per ton less than it was last year for the farmer and that this has a great impact on the earnings of a small farmer? How does the hon. Gentleman expect the small farmer to pay decent wages to farm workers if the Government's policy is as ludicrous as this?
§ Mr. Mills
The great thing about British agriculture at present is that farmers know where they are under this Government—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."]—and the last two Price Reviews have shown this very clearly. Although the price will rise, it will rise gradually and the end price will rise to them as well. Mark my words, farmers know where they are.