HC Deb 22 June 1972 vol 839 cc735-867

4.30 p.m.

The Chairman

We come now to Amendment No. 263, in page 9, line 1, leave out 'in charge of a government department', with which it will be convenient for the Committee to discuss the following Amendment No. 264, in line 3, after 'be', insert 'known'.

Amendment No. 265, in line 4, leave out from 'Produce' to 'and' in line 6.

Amendment No. 266, in line 6, leave out from 'Board' to 'shall' in line 7.

Amendment No. 267, in line 7, leave out 'the direction and control of the Ministers' and insert: 'an affirmative resolution of each House of Parliament'.

Amendment No. 268, in line 9, leave out 'they' and insert 'Parliament'.

Amendment No. 270, in line 12, leave out 'Her Majesty may by Order in Council' and insert: 'The Ministers in pursuance to a resolution of each House of Parliament may'.

Amendment No. 271, in line 13, at end insert: 'and such membership shall include representatives of consumers' interests and producer representation'.

Amendment No. 395, in line 13, at end insert: 'and such membership shall include representatives of agricultural workers'.

Amendment No. 273, in line 24, after 'produce', insert 'or consumption', upon which I understand a Division will be required.

Amendment No. 396, in line 24, after 'produce', insert: 'or engaged in agricultural work'.

Amendment No. 441, in line 26, leave out from 'Board' to 'and' in line 29.

Amendment No. 274, in line 29, after 'functions', insert: 'or to the interests of the consumers'.

Mr. Peter Shore (Stepney)

In a point of order, Sir Robert. May I put to you a matter which I do not think will come as a great surprise to you?

I acknowledge the great difficulties that you have had in making the selection for today and in grouping the Amendments—there are so many and there has been so little time. However, may I nevertheless press upon you the claims of Amendment No. 449, in Clause 6, page 11, line 17, at end add: '(9) Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this Act, unless there is in force on 31st December, 1982, a revised common fisheries policy for the Community which has been approved by Parliament, then on 1st January, 1983 the fishery protection measures and the fishery limits of the United Kingdom in force on 31st December, 1971, shall immediately revive. (10) Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this Act, unless there is in force in the Community on 1st January, 1978 a long-term arrangement for the import of New Zealand agricultural produce into the United Kindom which has been approved by the Parliaments of New Zealand and of the United Kingdom, then the arrangements in force on 31st December, 1977 shall continue in force unless and until a long-term Community arrangement which has the approval of each of the said Parliaments has been agreed'. This is the only Amendment which even remotely approaches the subject of the fisheries and New Zealand arrangements.

The purpose of the Amendment is to seek to write into the Bill safeguards for New Zealand imports and for our own fisheries at the end of the transitional periods—the very matters which it has been claimed have come out in the negotiations but which we greatly fear would not be sustained in the event. We therefore ask you to consider our application sympathetically and to allow us to have a separate debate upon this Amendment and to vote upon it.

The Chairman

I am obliged to the right hon. Gentleman for giving me the opportunity to make the position clear. I gave the question of Amendment No. 449 considerable study this morning, because I knew that the right hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends were anxious for it to be called. I regret that I am unable to call it, because I have found myself bound to rule it out of order as outside the scope of the Bill. It is depressing but nevertheless true.

Mr. John Farr (Harborough)

Further to that point of order, Sir Robert. Will it be in order to refer to that Amendment in the debate on the Question "That the Clause stand part of the Bill"?

The Chairman

It would be better for me not to answer that question until we see how matters go. If an hon. Member can mention it and keep in order, that is all right. I should not like to say definitely that an hon. Member will be able to do that.

Mr. Fred Peart (Workington)

I beg to move Amendment No. 263, in page 9, line 1, leave out 'in charge of a government department'.

I accept, Sir Robert, that we should have a Division on Amendment No. 273.

I am sorry that, for various reasons, I have been absent from the Committee during the previous debates on the Bill.

We believe Clause 6 to be one of the most important Clauses in the Bill. This is not to say that Clauses 1 to 3 are not important. However, we are now dealing with a specific policy which has been worked out by the Community and which will undoubtedly have a tremendous impact upon life in Britain.

I am sorry that the guillotine procedure will permit only one day's debate on a Clause which gives effect to the most important aspect of the Community's policy. This is a travesty of democratic procedure and practice.

The Clause gives effect to the acceptance of the common agricultural policy and the ending of our own system. Our system and policy were enshrined in the 1947 and 1957 Acts. The policy was accepted by all parties. I had the privilege of serving in the House during the passing of the 1947 and 1957 Acts. I have been present during most of the agricultural debates since then. Over the years this policy and these Acts have worked successfully and have been admired by many farm and political leaders in Europe and other parts of the world.

The Clause gives effect to the adaption of our policy to the common agricultural policy and the ending of a system which has worked and which gave a measure of confidence. I know that there may be arguments about that in relation to price reviews; and that occurred under successive Governments, but the system worked. So we are discussing a Clause which affects our largest industry, our farmers, who I believe are the best in the world, and farm workers, and the nation generally.

The consumer will inevitably be affected. This emerges not only from the negotiations. The Treaty of Accession shows that the acceptance of the CAP will inevitably mean a higher price policy for the British people.

It will have an even wider effect. I refer to our international trading position, to our links with our traditional food suppliers. I think of the Commonwealth—of New Zealand, of Australia, of Canada, of the Caribbean, of India. I believe the CAP to be a dagger at the heart of the Commonwealth.

I think also of our traditional links with countries outside the Commonwealth. Too often people denigrate the United States. We have had good relations with the United States over the years and it has supplied us with food. The United States will be affected by the Clause. I think also of the peoples in Eastern Europe outside the Community.

So today we are discussing an extremely important Clause which gives effect to the terms negotiated by the Government and spelt out in the Treaty of Accession. Moreover, it will give effect to much of the legislation which has flowed from the Community. Three-quarters of the secondary legislation deals with the adaption and phasing into the CAP of our policy.

There are three sections of this very important part of the Bill. There is, first, the setting up of the Intervention Board for Agricultural Produce, subject to the direction of the Ministers responsible for agriculture, to carry out the Economic Community's policy in the United Kingdom. There is, second, the provision for the collection of the Community's agricultural levies. There is, third, the provision for commodities to be removed from the scope of the present agricultural guarantee system as the Community system takes its place.

The Amendments are designed to probe into policies which will flow and into the structure which is being created to administer the CAP in Britain.

I ask the Minister to give the Committee more details about the Intervention Board. The board is to be in charge of a government department". I assume that the board will be under the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, but there are other Ministers who are concerned with agricultural policy and who from time to time have had a measure of responsibility with the Minister on matters such as the Price Review.

I am thinking in terms of the Secretary of State for Scotland, who has responsibility for Scottish agriculture. I used to think in terms of the Home Secretary, but I assume that it is now the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland who has responsibility for matters affecting Northern Ireland. Then there is the Secretary of State for Wales, who I believe has responsibility for agricultural matters under the present Administration.

Will the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food be responsible in the sense that the new board will be in charge of his Department? Or will there be a shared responsibility? The board will be responsible to Ministers, but which Ministers? Will they include Ministers from the Treasury? Treasury Ministers are not always very sympathetic to agriculture, as I know from my experience as a former Minister of Agriculture and a former Leader of the House. Over the years there has been conflict between Ministers responsible for agriculture and the Treasury. Will a representative of the Foreign Office be involved?

I hope that the Minister will explain the functions of the board. There was a statement, I think in February, of which I have a copy, which dealt with the Intervention Board for Agricultural Produce, the agency bodies, and the board dealing with cereal policy and cereal administration which will inevitably flow from the CAP. I hope we can have more details. I do not ask for too much detail because I recognise that further discussions must be held, but can we be told whether the board will have powers to negotiate with the Commission?

Will there be a liaison with the Commission through the board? Will the board be able to scrutinise the administrative arrangements which flow from Community directives? What is the position about other statutory bodies? I think the Minister has expressed himself outside the House on this subject and he will no doubt agree with what I say. Will some of the functions have to be delegated to important statutory bodies like the Meat and Livestock Commission and the Home-Grown Cereals Authority?

Will the Minister explain about the composition of the board. Will it be a large board? A decision on size is not always easy because Ministers are criticised if they make boards too large. Will civil servants be included, and will both sides of the industry be represented? Will people dealing with the administration of marketing, the retail and the wholesale trades be included? Will the Minister consider appointing people with commercial and administrative experience—perhaps local government experience?


4.45 p.m.

These are all important matters because the board will have a tremendous influence upon the industry. It will have to advise Ministers and administer a policy which is facing difficulties even in Europe. I will not deploy that argument now but instead will deal with it in the debate on the Question "That the Clause stand part of the Bill". The first part of the Clause dealing with the definition of "Intervention Board" shows that it will be a powerful body and might affect Minister's decisions if it becomes all powerful.

Will Parliament be able to scrutinise the activities of the board? I remember when I was Minister being repeatedly pressed from the Conservative benches when I introduced the Home-Grown Cereals Authority and the Meat and Livestock Commission that there should be adequate accountability to Parliament and that hon. Members should be able to criticise and scrutinise. Will the system provide for policy to be decided in Brussels by the Commission and approved by the Council of Ministers, so that it filters down to be administered by the Intervention Board? If that is so, it will be more necessary than ever for the board to be scrutinised in Parliament.

Will the board present an annual report, as certain other bodies do? Will one Minister be responsible for the board or will it be the responsiblity of several Ministers? There is a danger that we might create a bureaucratic institution. In Europe there has been criticism of the Community, and on previous occasions I have even quoted the German Commissioner, Professor Dahrendorf, who has criticised the growth of bureaucracy in the Community. There is always the danger that if a group of people is apart from the industry and apart from the hurly-burly of politics it can develop into a self-sufficient organisation with bureaucratic tendencies. That is one of my major criticisms of the Commission's handling of agriculture and it is one of my major criticisms of the CAP and its administration. Will the same thing happen in this country if we bestow on the board the powers contained in the Clause? Will there be consultations with industry?

Mr. Nicholas Ridley (Cirencester and Tewkesbury)

The right hon. Gentleman criticises the administration of the CAP and the bureaucracy that attends it, but does he criticise the CAP itself and the principles which underlie it?

Mr. Peart

Of course I do. I have criticised it on previous occasions, and when I come to the debate on the Question "That the Clause stand part of the Bill" I shall deploy a wider argument, and I hope that the hon. Member will support me. I have found very few people in this country, except, perhaps, for the odd Minister or two, and very few people on the Continent who will defend the CAP. If I were allowed to reveal private conversations I would probably shock the Committee. Political leaders are very sceptical about the CAP. Herr Ertl, the German Minister of Agriculture, is on the record in commenting on the matter. The policy has developed in a way which is bad for European agriculture. I much prefer the system in this country, which many people on the Continent laud and approve.

If we are to have all this we have a right to examine what it means, and that is why the Minister should spell out the answers to my questions. In reply to our Amendments I hope we shall hear an explanation on those matters which fundamentally affect the industry. I hope the Minister will say that there will be consultation with the industry and with consumer organisations.

Mr. Hugh Fraser (Stafford and Stone)

The Intervention Board would appear to be purely a servant of the Commission in Brussels. Surely the House and the Minister will have no influence on it because it will carry out instructions from Brussels, and it will make no difference whether it is composed of English-speaking Germans or English-speaking Englishmen.

Mr. Peart

The right hon. Gentleman should await the Minister's answer. I suspect that inevitably once Brussels has decided we shall have great difficulty in trying to alter the decision. However, the Minister must present his case. The nub of the argument concerns the fact that we are to allow a Brussels Commission, administrators in another country, to decide important aspects of policy affecting our country and our industry.

For these reasons, we are very critical of the Clause. That is why we probe it today and why we want adequate answers from the Government.

Mr. Anthony Fell (Yarmouth)

I support the Amendments. Anything that will help to protect the people affected by the Bill's workings once it has become an Act, if it ever does, must be good. Therefore, the Amendments of the right hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Peart) have my wholehearted support, so far as they go. I understand that they would more or less at least have the effect of making the Intervention Board much more directly responsible to Parliament than it would be under the Clause. Anything that would lead to Parliament's being more responsible for what is done by some Ministers working slightly in the dark from the point of view of this country and Parliament over in Brussels, or wherever it may be, must be to the good.

We naturally rise with the best will to speak in support of something we think may help agriculture in this country and help Parliament to stand between the Commission and agriculture when it is necessary to defend British agriculture. But the heart grows a little weak when we realise before the debate starts that there is no conceivable chance, however strongly the Minister may feel that Amendments should be included in the Bill, of his being allowed to accept them. That is the worst feature of all our debates on the Bill. It is not only discouraging but enervating. It destroys the whole purpose and will of Parliament. My right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is wagging his head, thus telling me that that is not so. I heard my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House rightly say the other day that there is provision for a Report stage. Of course there is. There is time for a Report stage. But it is rather odd that although Amendment after Amendment on legal matters and all sorts of other matters have been moved throughout the progress of the Committee Stage, by friends and opponents of the Government on both sides, the brains of hon. Members have never been sufficiently sensible to think up one Amendment which might be of some help to the Bill.

I may be proved wrong. I hope and pray that I shall be, and that from our stalwart Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food we shall this afternoon have a response to one or two of the serious Amendments, by his accepting something that will help to improve the Bill. I pray that that will happen in the Amendments before us, including that so ably moved by the right hon. Gentleman. If my right hon. Friend does that, he will go down in the history of the Bill—[Interruption.]—It may well be that my right hon. Friend is truly saying that if he should do any dreadful thing he will go down, but I hope that is not true. I trust that what is true is what my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House said the other day, that if the Government felt that they should accept an Amendment they would do so forthwith and that they are not worried about the possibility of having to have a Report stage.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Mr. Geoffrey Rippon)

Will my hon. Friend indicate what merit there is in the Amendment which will improve the Bill? That is what we are trying to discuss. Many of the Amendments have had no relevance to the Bill but have raised matters of general debate. They were just probing Amendments, as I imagine those before us are.

Mr. Fell

My right hon. and learned Friend has been here for the past three or four minutes, I believe, but in case he has not, I must tell him that I was only supporting the Amendments because I felt they would help to strengthen Parliament's position under the Bill. That is their aim.—[Interruption.]—My right hon. and learned Friend says "No". I have read the Amendments, and I hope he has. Obviously, he will consider most seriously whether any Amendment should be accepted. I do not believe it is true that no Amendment has been moved that would in any way assist the Bill. I still believe that the true answer is that my right hon. and learned Friend has his hands tied behind his back and dare not accept any Amendment because it would mean a Report stage. I hope that I am wrong, and that one of the Amendments we are considering, or at least other Amendments to this part of the Bill, will be accepted by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

Mr. Gavin Strang (Edinburgh, East)

The hon. Member for Yarmouth (Mr. Fell) has touched on the crucial issue in the whole debate.

Because we wish to get on, to have a full debate on the Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill", and because we expect a full statement from the Minister this afternoon, I do not wish to take up much time now. I say that we are expecting a full statement because we know that for many months there has been a great deal of discussion with the organisations which may act as agents for the Intervention Board. It would be intolerable if we did not have a comprehensive statement, not just on how the Board will operate and on its composition but, perhaps more important, on the way in which the agencies acting on its behalf will conduct their affairs. I understand that the only concrete fact we have at this stage is that the Home-Grown Cereal Authority will be an agent acting for cereals. No official statements of any significance have been made about other agencies which will act for other commodities on behalf of the Board.

There are a number of specific points which it is important that the Minister should answer. Several of them were touched on by my right hon. Friend the Member for Workington (Mr. Peart). It is important that we should receive answers to five of the points to which I should like to refer.

The first refers to the first Amendment, and the fact that the Board will be in the charge of a Government Department. This Board does not have to be in the charge of a Government Department. It could be more autonomous, although paid for out of public funds. For the right hon. and learned Gentleman to suggest that these Amendments are simply probing and not meant to be taken seriously is nonsense.

5.0 p.m.

Mr. Rippon

I never suggested that they were not to be taken seriously. Many Amendments have raised important points which we have answered; we have explained the issues. Many have been simply probing Amendments. I was suggesting that this group could only be regarded as designed to initiate a general discussion.

Mr. Strang

That is a fair point, but we should like to see some of these Amendments written in, because they would improve the Bill.

Second, I hope that the Minister will elaborate on the functions of this Board. In some countries, these intervention boards have very wide functions which are not related to agricultural policy. It is true that this Bill says that the Board will have functions in relation to the CAP, but any aspect of agricultural policy is connected with the CAP. Therefore, underneath this Board there could be all the civil servants who are working on any agricultural policy. Is that what the Minister envisages? How precisely will this Board slot into the Ministry?

My third point is absolutely crucial. Will the Minister spell out the relationship of the Board with the Ministry and with the Commission? This will be a very complicated relationship. The right hon. Member for Stafford and Stone (Mr. Hugh Fraser) implied that the Board would simply be the agent of the Commission and would respond to its directives. This Board will of course force up prices, ensure that the consumer does not get the benefit of a production surplus and collect the levies. It will be the agent of the most abominable part of the whole Common Market exercise.

Mr. Christopher Brocklebank-Fowler (King's Lynn)

Is the hon. Gentleman not overlooking the fact that the Amendment would remove the Board from the control of the Ministry and the Minister from the obligation to answer in Parliament? Surely it would destroy parliamentary control over the Board's activities.

Mr. Strang

No, the hon. Member is wrong. Even if all these Amendments were accepted, the Minister would still appoint all the members of the Board and their salaries would come from the Treasury. We can ask questions about other Government agencies. An extreme example is the Medical Research Council. Rothschild implied that it was not responsible to Parliament, but in fact we can ask questions about it.

It is important, from the point of view of Labour Party policy towards the Common Market, that this Intervention Board should be appointed by a British Minister and its salaries paid by the Treasury. If, by the time we have a Labour Government, we are in the Common Market, this will be a very important consideration when that Government tell the Commission that we cannot accept the present negotiated terms over the CAP.

Fourth, on the composition of the Board, the Amendments seek to ensure that there will be representatives of consumers, producers and the workers in the industry. It is quite reasonable that workers in agriculture—the National Union of Agricultural and Allied Workers and to some extent the Transport and General Workers'Union—should have at least one representative on the Board. That is what the Labour Government provided when they set up organisations such as the Meat and Livestock Commission.

My fifth point relates to the consultations that the Minister is required to have when issuing directives to the Board, perhaps enlarging on its functions. Under the Bill, the Minister will be obliged to consult any body created by statutory provision. That seems a restricting type of legislation. After all, I presume that all the unions will be consulted, although they are not created by statutory provision. I am not sure whether the producer marketing organisations could be defined as created by statutory provision. I doubt it.

I hope that we shall have some assurance, particularly as it appears that we are not to be allowed to change the Bill in any way, that the consultation will take place not just with bodies created by statutory provision but with all organisations. It is much more important that it should take place with other bodies who are not in the Minister's pocket, which to some extent is the implication of the phrase "created by statutory provision".

Mr. Dennis Walters (Westbury)

The right hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Peart) emphasised the importance of this Clause, on which we would all agree. He rightly said that it is the key to the common agricultural policy, which he criticised. He also said that some of his hon. Friends had criticised it even more, and that he could not tell the Committee some of the remarks made to him in private about it.

Mr. Peart

I said that political leaders in Europe had spoken in these terms, not necessarily my hon. Friends.

Mr. Walters

Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman would agree that some of his colleagues have been equally outspoken about it. In that connection, it is important to realise, when we are discussing this, that, although it is not possible to renegotiate the CAP before entry, once we are members, the problems facing agriculture, and therefore the British agriculture, will be open to adaptations and alterations—as indeed they clearly have been in the Community up till now. Should intolerable situations arise adversely affecting a particular member—obviously, we are here especially concerned that they might adversely affect us—it would be possible to ensure that just and reasonable solutions were found.

It has never been the policy of the Community to penalise a particular member. It would not be in the interests of the Community to do so; moreover it would not be possible and it would not work. If the existing system is not capable of meeting the requirements of members it can be altered and adapted.

Although I agree that the common agricultural policy is open to criticism, and that it will no doubt have to be changed in some important respects, its more passionate critics have consistently failed to recognise, that it is a policy of protection aimed at fulfilling social as well as economic functions. The system is not very different from protection of a declining industry which the Opposition so consistently support and advocate. A policy which has such a clear social content should, at least to some extent, I should have thought, commend itself to right hon. and hon. Members opposite.

Moreover, a study of the Mansholt plan shows that the plan is aimed at reducing the uneconomic areas of production and the uneconomic employment of agricultural labour and to do so gradually so as to cause as little social harm and disruption as possible. Once we are full members of the Community we shall be able effectively to stand up for our own special agricultural interests and influence the whole agricultural policy of the Community. This is a desirable aim to which Britain can make a major contribution. I entirely agree that British agriculture is outstandingly successful and has much to show to European agriculture.

As my hon. Friend the Member for King's Lynn (Mr. Brocklebank-Fowler) has pointed out, the effect of Amendment No. 263 is to remove from the Minister direct accountability to Parliament for the normal routine activities of the employees of the Intervention Board for Agricultural Produce. The Community regulations require some form of organisation to be designated to carry out intervention functions, and experience has repeatedly shown that it is desirable to centralise such functions. Since the final responsibility remains with the Government, provision should be made for accounting to Parliament, and the Amendment therefore has a precisely contrary effect to the wish of hon. Gentlemen opposite to have more parliamentary scrutiny. The Amendment is unnecessary and undesirable.

5.15 p.m.

Sir Fitzroy Maclean (Bute and North Ayrshire)

I was interested and encouraged to hear the right hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Peart) describe the Amendments as probing Amendments. I hope that when he has received the perfectly satisfactory answer he can expect from my right hon. and learned Friend he will withdraw them. Taken at their face value, I would describe them as wrecking Amendments.

Sir Ronald Russell (Wembley, South)

Does my hon. Friend describe Amendment 264 as a wrecking Amendment? It seems to be grammatically desirable if not essential.

Sir F. Maclean

I am talking of the whole group of Amendments, including the one we are discussing. Taken together, their effect is to make the Intervention Board unworkable and completely out of control. The effect of Amendment No. 263 is to remove from the Minister accountability to Parliament which, by any standards, is clearly undesirable. I am led to the conclusion that hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite are trying to defeat this whole aspect of the Bill, and that view will no doubt be confirmed when we discuss the Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill".

The right hon. Member for Workington said nothing about Labour Party policy in this respect or, for that matter, the policy of the Labour Government. Am I wrong in thinking that the Labour Government were prepared to accept the common agricultural policy? If so the attitude of the Opposition now is contradictory.

Mr. Eric S. Heffer (Liverpool, Walton)

Is not the hon. Gentleman aware that at the 1969 Labour Party conference Lord George-Brown made it absolutely clear on behalf of the National Executive—despite his statements since then—that the common agricultural policy was one of the many matters on which the Government had definite reservations and that the whole question would have to be negotiated before our entry into the Common Market?

Sir F. Maclean

That was in 1969. Has not Lord George-Brown since made it clear that he considers the terms negotiated by my right hon. and learned Friend to be perfectly satisfactory and as good as or better than any terms which any Government were likely to get?

Mr. Douglas Jay (Battersea, North)

What Lord George-Brown may have said since are his personal views. What he said in 1969 and what my hon. Friend quoted was a statement of the position of the Government in 1967 when the application was made, and about that there is no doubt.

Sir F. Maclean

I have come to the end of my speech, but if I might interrupt an interrupter, there is a difference between making reservations about the common agricultural policy and trying to throw it out altogether.

Mr. Eric Deakins (Walthamstow, West)

I shall not take up the remarks of the hon. Member for Bute and North Ayrshire (Sir F. Maclean) since I am sure they will be fully dealt with by my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester. Wythenshawe (Mr. Alfred Morris).

I wish to draw attention to Amendment No. 441 which I regard as the most important of this group of 13 Amendments. It seeks to delete certain words from paragraph (a), the use of which in this legislation is quite extraordinary. They give the Minister power to give written direction to any statutory body engaged in agriculture—which must cover all marketing boards, such as the Home Grown Cereals Board and the Meat and Livestock Commission—if its activities are considered to be prejudicial.

I wish to ask a specific question about this power. Do Ministers mean that merely by sending a letter to a marketing board telling the Board that a particular function exercised by it is unacceptable to the European authorities they can ensure that that marketing board will cease to operate its statutory function in that respect? If that is the intention of this monstrous provision, I sincerely hope that the Committee will unanimously support this Amendment.

The provision as drafted would create an appalling situation in view of the assurances which the House has been given about negotiations to enable the position of marketing boards to be safeguarded. If the words to which I have drawn attention are necessary for this purpose, I feel that they should be resisted. If there is to be any change in the functions and powers of marketing boards, it should be a matter for Par- liament to consider and decide, not for Ministers to conclude merely by sending a letter.

Mr. Farr

I should like to deal with the contents of some of the grouped Amendments, some of which are good and others bad. First, I wish to refer to the remarks of my hon. Friend the Member for Westbury (Mr. Walters) who made a short and interesting speech, though I did not agree with very much of it. He praised the Mansholt plan and said what a wonderful opportunity would be afforded to the British farmers when we went into Europe. He thought we would then have the chance to enjoy some of the benefits which would be bestowed by that plan on the British farming industry. I like and respect my hon. Friend, but I must say that his views on this subject are slightly misguided. I believe that the Mansholt plan, so far as it is intended to be implemented in this country, will be nothing but a disaster for British farming.

One of the objects of the Mansholt plan is to try to make agriculture more efficient, and I am speaking in the context of a Europe either representing the present Six or the enlarged Ten. There are to be measures to amalgamate farms, to give big cash handouts to those which want to get out of the business, and to try to bring up farms to a more efficient acreage. This is all very laudable, but how will it help us in this country? We shall be the suckers who will provide most of the money to motivate the Mansholt plan in the years that lie ahead, while European farmers struggle to catch up to the standards enjoyed by our British farms today. For a decade or two we are likely to mark time while they catch up at our expense.

There is no doubt that there is a very big gap between farmers in this country and farmers in some of the countries of the Six. It has already been said in this debate that our farmers are extremely efficient. The size of our farms is four to five times that of the average farm size in the Six. The yield per acre in this country is well ahead in every commodity compared with other nations in the Six. If we take other yardsticks, such as the size of dairy herds, again we in this country are many years ahead of the continent. I can see nothing but frustration and disappointment for British farming if we go into Europe and the Mansholt plan is applied here.

I welcome some of the remarks by the right hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Peart), and the whole Committee will agree with him that British agriculture flourished as a result of the 1947 and 1957 Agriculture Acts. We on this side of the Committee recognise that times have changed, and whether or not we enter the Common Market we feel that my right hon. Friend was right to initiate a change from the old methods of support. I know that the Committee will wish to pay tribute to a system which in the immediate post-war years, and until five or 10 years ago, provided a system of agriculture in this country which was the envy of many other countries in the world.

Mr. Strang

It still is.

Mr. Farr

I agree with the hon. Gentleman that it still is the envy of the world. The system of agriculture has helped to put us in a very superior position in terms of efficiency compared with our counterparts in the Six. We must all agree with the right hon. Member for Workington that those two Acts played a fundamental rôle in advancing British agriculture.

We must also recognise that, as we debate Clause 6 and the provisions relating to the Intervention Board, we are now at a watershed in British history. As soon as the Bill is on the Statute Book and becomes law, there will be a complete change of direction in British policy. For many years we have enjoyed a system which has benefited British housewives who have had a wide choice of the cheapest foods in the world. It has also helped our Commonwealth producers because they have sent foodstuffs to this country at times when they had peak supplies and when we had low supplies. This system in the past has worked very well in harmony with our own agricultural output. Imports from parts of the Commonwealth in certain respects have been safeguarded by my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. In terms of New Zealand dairy products and the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement he has made certain arrangements which I regard as of a temporary and uncertain nature.

The Committee will agree that, although we shall doubtless continue to receive a certain amount of sugar from the developing countries of the Commonwealth, and shall continue for a few years to obtain a diminishing amount annually of dairy produce from New Zealand, a whole change of emphasis will take place with the passing of Clause 6. In future when certain foods are in short supply in this country we shall find that they are met, not by Commonwealth producers in terms of low-priced food but, instead, by high-priced products from continental farmers. This is a situation we shall face and is the price the Government are prepared to pay; they recognise that a price has to be paid and have decided to pay it. But there are many hon. Members on both sides of the Committee who sincerely believe that in terms of this request, coupled with the many other things which we shall be called upon to fulfil and the obligations into which we shall be asked to enter, the price is altogether too high.

Some of our present Commonwealth suppliers will be phased out completely. For example, there will be nearly 300,000 tons of surplus Australian sugar kicking round the world in 1974 which formerly would have come to this country at cheap prices under the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement. The effect of that will be to wreck the delicate balance and structure of the free world sugar market. Many other Commonwealth commodities which today come to this country will be terminated fairly rapidly. I have in mind dried fruits and certain other basic commodities.

5.30 p.m.

Turning to the group of Amendments tabled by the right hon. Member for Workington, I wish to refer especially to No. 271. That Amendment would make a real improvement, since it proposes the inclusion of representatives of consumer interests and of producers on the Intervention Board. I hope that my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food will deal with this proposal. It is very important that some of the detailed information needed by the Committee about the workings of the Intervention Board should be made available.

Amendment No. 271 requires consumer and producer interests to be represented on the Intervention Board. Certainly I should expect to see producer representatives, and I am sure that my right hon. Friend will set my mind at rest in that respect. I am sure that my right hon. Friend will say that representatives of the National Farmers Union or some other suitable representatives of agricultural producers will be represented on the Board. Indeed, without them the Board could not really do its job.

I hope that my right hon. Friend will give the Committee some details of how the Intervention Board is to work—

Mr. Walters

But does not Amendment No. 263 specifically remove direct accountability from the Minister to Parliament? How does my hon. Friend feel that that would be helpful?

Mr. Farr

I said earlier that some of the Amendments were good but that some were not so good. That is one that I regard as pointless. Amendment No. 263 proposes to leave out the words in charge of a government department However, the right hon. Member for Workington replaces it with nothing. If the Amendment is accepted we shall have a rudderless and pilotless Intervention Board which will do more damage than if it were in the charge of the Government Department concerned. It is an Amendment with which I do not altogether agree.

Mr. J. Enoch Powell (Wolverhampton, South-West)

Does not my hon. Friend feel that the result would still be achieved by the words "responsible to the Ministers" in lines 2 and 3 of subsection (1)?

Mr. Farr

I am afraid that I have enough difficulty in deploying my own case without trying to explain to the Committee the reasons why the right hon. Member for Workington has tabled his Amendment. If a right hon. or hon. Member opposite winds up the debate, perhaps that point will be dealt with. I could have a good guess at the reason, but probably I should be out of order if I tried.

There are a number of answers that the agricultural industry must have about the workings of the Intervention Board. I hope that my right hon. Friend the Minister will let us have one or two of them today. I hope, for example, that we shall be told whether the Intervention Board will act directly in respect of some commodities and whether in respect of certain other commodities there will be statutory bodies acting for it. If every commodity is to have a statutory body in charge of it, again controlled by the Intervention Board, what are those statutory bodies to be? One can envisage the statutory body likely to be chosen in respect of certain commodities. In respect of cereals, for example, I imagine that it is likely to be the Home Grown Cereals Authority. In the case of meat, it might be the Meat and Livestock Commission. However, we are guessing.

I remind my right hon. Friend that we have only seven months before the whole system has to be working, assuming that we go into Europe. The situation is complicated enough as it is without it suddenly being sprung upon the industry without forewarning of the arrangements that my right hon. Friend proposes to make.

Who will be responsible, for instance, in respect of cereals, for the largely detailed duties of denaturing corn? Will that be done by the Intervention Board, will it be done by a statutory body authorised by the Board, or is my right hon. Friend considering, as I understand may be the case, employing certain private contractors authorised by the Board to do the denaturing for him?

Mr. Robert Hicks (Bodmin)

For the purposes of clarification on this point, perhaps I can help my hon. Friend. While I agree with him that we all require more details, perhaps I might remind him that on 9th May, 1972, in a Written Answer certain details were given to my hon. Friend the Member for Devizes (Mr. Charles Morrison). Referring to the Agricultural Ministers, my hon. Friend the Minister of State said: …they have invited the Home Grown Cereals Authority under the intervention system applicable to cereals to undertake, as executive agents of the Intervention Board for Agricultural Produce, functions relating to denaturing, support buying, storage and selling, and information about prices."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 9th May, 1970; Vol. 836, c. 323.] We have had some guidelines, though I agree that we are looking for more.

Mr. Farr

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for reminding me of that. I had not forgotten it. But I was not aware that the Home Grown Cereals Authority had accepted the burden placed upon it by the Minister. I was not aware that my right hon. Friend had yet been able to publish a reply to my request of about six weeks ago relating to where the area of greatest cereal deficiency will be in an enlarged Ten. At the moment it is Duisburg, in the Six. Will it remain Duisburg in the enlarged Ten, or will it be Liverpool, Sligo or somewhere else? We must know.

Obviously I do not expect full details from my right hon. Friend today but I hope that he will also be able to give the Committee an idea of where the principal marketing centres in this country are likely to be. I understand that there will be about 10 of them. Where will they be? Can my right hon. Friend announce details at a fairly early date?

The First Deputy Chairman

Order. I must draw the attention of the Committee to the fact that there has been a very wide-ranging debate on these matters. We are now straying into details which go far beyond them.

Mr. Farr

With respect, I was told by my right hon. Friend that he would give me answers to these questions when we debated Clause 6.

The First Deputy Chairman

That is precisely what I am saying to the Committee.

Mr. Farr

I was, in any case, about to continue, but I thought that it would be of extreme interest to everybody to know just where this area of greatest cereal deficiency would be. This is a matter of great importance.

I want to find out from the Minister whether the Intervention Board will operate directly in some fields without a statutory intervention authority, or whether, for every commodity, it will appoint a statutory intervention authority to act on its behalf and simply enjoy the position of being a parent board in charge of a number of statutory bodies.

I welcome some of the Amendments—some warmly, and some quite warmly—and some not at all. I hope that my right hon. Friend will give thought to some of the matters that I have raised. Whether or not I agree with the policy of going into Europe—and I do not—I have raised matters to which we should like answers at an early date.

Mr. Marcus Kimball (Gainsborough)

With great respect to my hon. Friend the Member for Harborough (Mr. Farr), I do not think that he has been meeting the same farmers that I have met during the last two or three years. I find that the agriculture community has no affection for free imports of new potatoes from Cyprus, and it will be a pleasure to have some sort of tariff mounted against them. We have seen the almost pig-headed refusal of the New Zealand Government to rephase the arrival of the New Zealand lamb crop in this country, and nothing short of a substantial tariff will help our farmers.

The right hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Peart) gave us perhaps one of the most conservative speeches that we have heard in the Committee for a long time. I think that most people interested in agriculture have grown out of this great affection for the 1947 Agriculture Act. The right hon. Gentleman talked about the end of a system which had worked well. That system was creaking and on the point of breaking down by the time standard quantities were introduced, and whether or not we are involved in the CAP the system would have had to have been changed. The farming community has suffered from the right hon. Gentleman's failure to rethink another system of agricultural support during the period that he was in office. I sincerely hope that my right hon. Friend will not accept the Amendment, because I hope that there will not be too much political interference with the Intervention Board once it is set up.

The experience of the last two weeks shows a most distressing tendency on the part of Ministers and the Government to run away from the consequences of the CAP once it starts to bite. We have seen the effect of a substantial rise in beef prices. We have seen the chance of a decent return to farmers who have invested in beef.

5.45 p.m.

Mr. Brocklebank-Fowler

I feel sure that my hon. Friend would like to draw the attention of the Committee to the fact that it is only by achieving these higher farm gate prices to which he refers that there is the remotest possibility of farmers being able to pay the higher wages which many hon. Members on this side of the Committee and, I should have thought, on the benches opposite, feel are deserved by the agricultural workers.

Mr. Kimball

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his intervention. I agree with him.

I should like to deal with this question of interference in the Intervention Board once it starts to bite. Those who have been trying to export to the Six during the last few years have found it intolerable that even when permission has been given to send a load of lambs from, say, Scotland to France, the tariff arrangements have been changed overnight. I thought it was a distressing tendency when my right hon. Friend started to talk about being able overnight to alter the restrictions on the amount of cows and beef going from this country to the Continent, when the sort of action which the Six have been taking over the last few years has made trading with them so difficult. One of the objects of the CAP is to get rid of this kind of difficulty.

From a farming point of view, for the first time in a long period we have seen four years of progressively rising agricultural prices to the farmer, and progressive expansion and prosperity. We are realistic in realising that after 1976 it is unlikely that the CAP will be renegotiated at the present high level of prices which Europe enjoys. I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Westbury (Mr. Walters) that within this policy there is an important social consideration.

I am sorry that the countries in Europe are talking about a further reduction in the number of people employed on the land. One of the advantages to Great Britain of the present high level of food prices is a tailing off of the tendency for people to leave the land, an ending over a short period of the depressing tendency for farms to amalgamate and for fewer people to get their living from the countryside, because that is bad for this country and is not something which I support and want to see continue.

I should like to see a level of food prices sufficient to ensure a prosperous and well-populated countryside, and it is distressing that the Common Market countries are talking about reducing the number of people employed in the countryside. I had hoped that the effect of the CAP would be to retain more people in the English countryside having a prosperous and satisfactory existence. I hope that we shall do everything that we can to rectify that tendency.

Mr. Hugh Fraser

I believe that to support the Clause is to condone the CAP, a European policy for agriculture which I believe is internationally disruptive. It offends against the essential eventual aim of world free trade in food, it is a selfish assault against the under-developed world, it is a guarantee for the creation of trading blocs, and it is a menace to the teetering capitalist economies of the West.

Mr. Charles Morrison (Devizes)


Mr. Fraser

I shall not give way. That is merely an introduction to my remarks. I do not want to get out of order. I want to deal with the Amendment relating to the Intervention Board, and my first suggestion is that as the proceeds of much of this will be in the form of a levy for Europe I trust that Europe will pay the salaries of those engaged in the Board, which would be an advantage to the British taxpayer.

Dealing with the setting up of the Intervention Board in this country, how will it be arranged that the slow movement upwards of our agricultural prices and therefore food prices at the end, which, according to the Government, will not increase at a rate of more than 2½ per cent. per year is harmoniously organised? That is that the levies, and so on, are so worked out that over this five-year period there is a harmonisation policy which does not upset the Government's promised norm.

Unless there is a harmonisation policy of considerable complication, unless there is intervention at a quite specific and different rate from Europe we shall see happening what has happened this spring over the movement of meat prices with the European meat price being as high as £22 a hundredweight and our own because of the reduction of the common external tariff moving upwards to hit, on some occasions in the market, a price as high as £18.

Therefore there has to be a complicated system, which I hope the Minister will explain, so as to regulate the movement of the common external tariff and to ensure that the price of food for the consumer in this country does not increase by more than the 2½ per cent. a year to which the Government are totally pledged. My right hon. Friend said the other day not 2½ per cent. but 2 per cent. Let us keep it at 2½ per cent. and let him off the other ½ per cent.

The other point I wish to raise is how the Intervention Board will act on certain agricultural products not produced here. This applies especially to maize. The European price of maize, quoted from the agricultural paper produced by the NFU, is just over £40 per ton. The world price, quoted in this morning's Financial Times is £22 per ton. That is the difference, and this difference will affect some of my farming friends in my constituency. I hope that the Minister is aware that the latest forecast is that for 1972–73 the maize target price in Europe will increase by a further 3.2 per cent. Next year we shall be dealing with a European maize price of £42 per ton while the world price is rapidly falling. How will this affect people such as my hon. Friend the Member for Gainsborough (Mr. Kimball) who are so keen on attacking New Zealanders? How will his farmers feel when they have to pay these prices for their feeding stuffs?

Could I refer to another area in which you, Miss Harvie Anderson, and I are both involved, in different capacities, myself as a consumer and you as someone representing an area where the good stuff is produced? I am talking about whisky, our biggest export, earning us £100 million a year. I am not an expert on how whisky is made but I am an expert on how it is consumed. Let me remind the Committee that whisky nowadays is not made of barley; it is made largely of maize which is not grown here. What will the Intervention Board do about the price of maize for the British whisky manufacturer and the British farmer feeding his livestock? We want to know a great deal about this.

I turn to deal with the change which it is suggested will be made in the common agricultural policy over the next few years. It is quite clear that M. Pompidou fought the referendum on the basis that there would be no change in the common agricultural policy. Could I take up the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Gainsborough about the movement of people back to the land? There may be a few moving back to the land in this country, but let us suppose there were a change in Europe of this kind; let us suppose that Europe moved on to the same sort of relationship of men to the acre as ourselves.

This would mean that in West Germany 1½ million people would immediately be put on to the labour market. Will they do that? Do we think they are half-wits? Do we think Herr Dr. Strauss in Bavaria will come forward and say, "Let us change the agricultural policy; let us have one million unemployed"? Hon. Members should be more familiar with European history. What we are concerned with in South Germany are the Hitler reforms, and they were interesting reforms, of 1934, 1935 and 1936. Then it was agreed that there should be a strong peasant economy in Germany. That is why there are those holdings of about 26 acres average. Do we think that will change? Not at all. My right hon. Friends say that once we get in, Europe will be like us, and it will follow the agricultural policy we have followed.

What would happen in Italy if it adopted the sort of agricultural relationship we have with men per acre? There would be three million more unemployed. Do we see Signor Colombo doing this? This is Cloud Cuckoo Land ill-digested. No one who thinks this, especially the Minister, has done his homework. Such people do not know or understand the problems of Europe. Europe depends on a strong peasant economy, and those peasant communities are important political factors in any decision. Do we imagine for one moment that my right hon. Friend, however brilliant an agrono- mist he may be, however expert he may be as an agriculturalist, however splendid he may be as a farm manager, when he gets into European will be able to change anything? Not on your ruddy Nelly!

The Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mr. James Prior)

Having listened to my right hon. Friend the Member for Stafford and Stone (Mr. Hugh Fraser) I feel that I had better intervene quickly. I hope that my intervention at this stage will not be construed by any member of the Committee as suggesting that I wish to bring the debate to an end. I thought, as we have already had a number of questions asked and as I regard this as an important debate to which there are a number of detailed replies, that hon. Members on both sides would think it convenient for me to intervene now.

By way of introduction may I say that we should all like to pay tribute to the work done under the 1947 and 1957 Acts. For many years they served the farming industry of this country and the consumers extremely well. Although from time to time there were doubts about the changes made, and great doubts at the time whether the 1957 Act would work, the fact is that they did work pretty well. It has only been in the last few years that there have been movements away from them. Those movements were going on before this Government came into office although they have perhaps accelerated over the last two years or so.

May I say to my right hon. Friend, who quite rightly has accused me of not doing my homework since I accused him of the same thing the other day, that what he has to recognise is that with a commodity such as meat or butter we are outside the Community now, on our own with the rest of the world to trade with, but are finding that prices in the rest of the world have risen extremely sharply and that there is nothing we can do about it. This has happened to us while we are outside the Community and it is beyond our control. This is exactly what has happened. I do not necessarily regard my right hon. Friend's views about what will happen when we go into Europe as making any great difference from that point of view.

[Mr. JOHN BREWIS in the Chair]

6.0 p.m.

I find it rather extraordinary that the Opposition should criticise the policy outlined in the Clause in the way they have. In many respects it bears a fairly close resemblance to the sort of commodity commission approach which was so favoured by the Opposition at one time, and this policy, for the first time, gives power to a governmental body to intervene on the market in order to hold the price at a pre-defined level. I should have thought that this was something that had, in past years, found a good deal of acceptance by the Opposition. [Interruption.] One of my hon. Friends says "Good Socialist principle." That is what I can never understand about the Opposition. I understand my right hon. and hon. Friends rather more. But the Opposition have had Dr. Mansholt, who is a leading Socialist, forming the agricultural and other policies for a long while.

Mr. Arthur Lewis (West Ham, North)

What about Lord Robens?

Mr. Prior

I should like to indicate in some detail how we see the intervention body working. On Second Reading I said that I would try to give some idea of the Board's functions on this occasion.

The Board will have almost entirely executive functions. It will be dealing with large sums of money and affecting the activities of a great many people up and down the country. Therefore, we considered that this was a sufficient reason for the organisation to be set up as a Government Department directly responsible to Ministers who will be answerable to Parliament for its actions. Although its operations will be largely financed by the Community—I shall come later to this point—we think it essential for the organisation to be accountable to Parliament; for its expenditure to be subject to the oversight of the Comptroller and Auditor General and its administration—after the passage of the necessary Order in Council under the Parliamentary Commissioner Act, 1967—to be subject to the oversight of the Ombudsman.

Mr. Neil Marten (Banbury)

Would it, therefore, be within the remit of the Expenditure Committee to inquire into not only the Board but also the whole financing of the Board's work, not only in this country but also elsewhere?

Mr. Prior

No. I should not have thought so, because that would involve policy decisions. For policy decisions it is the Minister and the Ministry who will retain responsibility. On matters of policy the Minister is answerable, as he is at present; for matters of the executive responsibilities of the Board, the Board is answerable. If I may continue, I think that this will become clearer to my hon. Friend.

It is thus for reasons of financial and administrative accountability for the very large sums involved that we are convinced that the main intervention agency needs to be a Government Department and, for a number of reasons, we think that it should be a new and distinct Department. First, it seems right to make a clear distinction between the purely executive functions under the common agricultural policy which will be entrusted to the Board and the policy functions which will be carried out by the existing agricultural Departments working through the various bodies in Brussels.

Mr. Peart

Is it to be a completely separate Government Department?

Mr. Prior

A completely separate Government Department. I suppose that the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food will become the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries, Food and Intervention. That, I presume, is the full technical detail of this.

It will still be the job of the Minister, through policy, to deal with the management committees in Brussels, which in turn deal with the day-to-day application of the EEC system for each commodity. The representation of the United Kingdom on these committees will be by officials but we certainly intend to bring trade interests into the closest possible consultation on the many issues involved. I want to stress this because I know that the trade from time to time feels that it has a particular expertise which will be needed and can be of great value both to the officials and to the country. I am determined to see that the trade has every opportunity to put its views to my officials and, where necessary, to accompany my officials to Brussels when they go there to attend the management committees.

Secondly, there is the simple practical point that intervention must be operated on a uniform basis throughout the United Kingdom and it is, therefore, better to have a single body for the whole country than to work through the separate agricultural Departments as they now are.

Thirdly, a separate Department allows us to introduce a board system which has the great advantage of allowing people to be appointed who are knowledgeable in the commercial and semi-commercial fields to which the common agricultural policy extends.

We are thinking in terms of a fairly small Board of men of experience and knowledge, with a chief executive who will act as accounting officer and will be in charge of the running of the Department. He will be a civil servant. The members of the Board will not necessarily be civil servants, but the chief executive will be.

We do not think that it would be wise to restrict appointments to men from particular fields of work or to make the members in any sense representatives of particular interests. It is not intended that the Board's members, either individually or collectively, should exercise direct executive functions within the fields of activity of the chief executive. But they will bring wide experience in commercial fields to bear on the Department's operations and dealings with the interests concerned within the discretion which the EEC regulations leave us. They will also be able to consider individual cases where hardship or injustice might arise.

We must ensure that the arrangements are such that the Board has the most effective method of work possible and can meet, within its sphere of operation, the needs of traders and producers. We therefore expect the Board to give a high priority to the closest contact with the trade and industry and to building up an effective system of consultation, both formal and informal, with all the interests concerned in all parts of the United Kingdom on its methods of operation. As it is a Board for the United Kingdom as a whole, we have to consider representation from various parts of the United Kingdom, and this we are doing.

Sir F. Maclean

Will my right hon. Friend explain how this will operate in Scotland and what relationship there will be with the Secretary of State for Scotland?

Mr. Prior

The Board will be under my control. I assure my hon. Friend that it will have a representative from Scotland on it. It will have a regional office in Scotland. But I should like to come to the details a little later.

Mr. Norman Buchan (Renfrew, West)

Perhaps I did not hear the right hon. Gentleman. Did he say that he would return later precisely to this point?

Mr. Prior

If I did not answer the point the hon. Gentleman has in mind, perhaps he will ask me about it a little later when I come to it.

I should expect the Board to operate a series of advisory committees covering the main commodities and the main functions of the Board. This will enable the Board to benefit from a wide range of experience and will enable the trade and all the other interests concerned to be kept in close touch with the operation of the support system—which will clearly be of more direct concern to more people and more interests than the present system. There will, of course, be close links between the Board's consultations with the trade and those of the agricultural Departments on the work of the EEC management committees.

At this stage I shall deal briefly with why the Board is to be a body corporate, which is the subject of one of the Amendments which we have been discussing. It is essential to the Board to have sufficient status to carry out its assigned functions, and in setting up a new Government Department it is modern practice to provide for this by conferring corporate status on either the Department or the Minister in charge of it, making possible the use of a corporate seal for deeds and other instruments and facilitating land transactions.

There is no advantage of any kind in not giving the Board the status of a body corporate, but without such status it would be impossible for the Board to hold an interest in land except through trustees, which would be an unacceptable alternative. Similarly, it is necessary to exclude restrictions on its corporate capacity which might operate to the disadvantage of parties with which it makes contracts. The constitution of the Board will be covered in more detail in an Order in Council which will be laid before the House as soon as possible after the Bill has received the Royal Assent.

Mr. Buchan

On the earlier point about the relationship between the Ministry of Agriculture and the Secretary of State for Scotland, I understand that at present there is parity. There are two Ministers, the Secretary of State for Scotland and the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, who are each in charge of an Agriculture Department. It is true that in respect of food the Minister of Agriculture alone is responsible. In terms of agriculture, the Secretary of State for Scotland has parity in the Cabinet and Government administration. If what is now being described is an all-powerful body, which to a large extent will administer outside instructions in Britain reflecting Common Market attitudes towards Britain and Scotland is to be relegated to a regional office, the Minister can expect hell about it.

Mr. Prior

Perhaps I misled the House. However, as normally happens the Ministry of Agriculture takes the lead in these matters. The relationship between the Secretary of State for Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and myself is, that we are all concerned with the Board in the same way as we are concerned all together now with the other operations of the Ministery and its functions. So the Board will be not just responsible to me alone; it will also be responsible to the Secretaries of State for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Mr. Peart

The Minister mentioned that there would be a regional office in Scotland. Are there any regional offices in Wales and, if so, what are their locations in England?

Mr. Prior

I will come to that matter fully a little later.

Mr. Ian MacArthur (Perth and East Perthshire)

I am sorry to interrupt on this point, but it is of crucial importance to Scotland. Will the Minister explain how Members' constituency interests can be handled within the new structure? Can we address a question to the Secretary of State for Scotland, as we do now, on agricultural matters, or will there be a dual relationship of a kind which we have never had before?

Mr. Prior

My hon. Friend will be able to address his questions to the Secretary of State for Scotland on agricultural matters relating to the Intervention Board as he does now. The relationship is not changed in any way in that respect.

Mr. Hugh Fraser

From the Scottish point of view, the price of maize is well below the European price. Will the Intervention Board issue a special rate to push up the price of maize to the consumer from £22, which is the present world price, to a price which I calculate by 1978 will be about £50 in Europe? How will this be done? Who will tell the whisky distiller "Your maize will cost you £48"?

6.15 p.m.

Mr. Prior

I will later give a specific example of how intervention works. That will then explain the problem which my right hon. Friend has raised.

I was going to deal with the question of affirmative Resolutions. The first Amendment on this subject, Amendment No. 267, would have the effect of removing the Board from the control of Ministers. I have already explained fully why we think it is necessary that the Board should exercise its functions—in the same way as any other Government Department—directly under the control of the Ministers responsible. The Board's responsibility to the Agricultural Ministers must be made clear in the legislation. It will be responsible to Parliament through the answerable Ministers in the same way as any other Government Department.

On the second Amendment, which seeks to replace the Order in Council procedure for dealing with the details of the constitution, membership and the organisation of the Board by Resolutions of both Houses, I should emphasise that the order would not include matters of policy but would be largely confined to matters of administrative detail. Resolutions of Parliament would not be the natural vehicle for making constitutional provisions of this kind. An Order in Council is the appropriate instrument for this purpose.

I have been asked about the other functions which could be entrusted to the Board and the powers which we have given to the Board. This is a necessary provision since, while the main function of the Board will be "in connection with" the carrying out of the obligations of the United Kingdom under the common agricultural policy, it is sensible to make provision for the Board to be able to undertake functions which will not be strictly in connection with the common agricultural policy but will facilitate the carrying out of our obligations.

In the same way, there are within the EEC regulations functions which are permissive and do not impose an obligation on member States. It might be sensible on some occasions to give the relevant permissive functions to the Board. We cannot be sure what the extent of functions of this sort will be in the future development of the CAP.

The power is thus largely a precautionary one for the future, but an example of where it might need to be used would be in the provision of centralised grain storage for intervention-bought cereals. There is no obligation to make such provision, but there might be circumstances in which the Board might consider that it would streamline its intervention-buying to the benefit of all concerned.

The conferring of this type of function would be by Order in Council under Clause 2(2). It would consequently be open to parliamentary scrutiny. There would be no question of the Board being directed to carry out any executive functions entirely outside the scope of the CAP. As I said on Second Reading, the word "intervention" in the context of EEC support covers a multitude of activities, and the great bulk of these, apart from the collection of import levies, which will be a matter for customs, will be carried out by the Board.

One main area of work for the Board will be the provision of export restitution on goods being exported to third countries.

I should say to my right hon. Friend the Member for Stafford and Stone—I will come to the question of maize later —that one of the things which will happen is that there will be an export restitution available for alcohol exports to compensate for any increase in the price of maize, as it were, coming into this country. That is part of the restitution process.

Mr. Marten

Over and above world prices?

Mr. Prior

I will come to that matter in a moment and put it in the right context.

Export restitution, or export refunds, are granted to cover the difference between Community prices for agricultural produce and world prices, and thus allow manufactured products to be exported at competitive prices. For example, if one is exporting goods and importing goods at a higher price because of the operation of the levy, one has to sell one's exports in competition with the rest of the world at world prices. There is the import restitution to cover the difference between the two. Community prices are changed at short notice, so it is extremely important to have an efficient paying organisation and a suitable means of getting price information quickly to the trade. Increasingly large sums of money will be involved here, and it will be a major and important area of work of considerable technicality, if not particularly glamorous.

There is also provision for the payment of various types of production subsidy and subsidies for denaturing products, particularly wheat. Denaturing is a system whereby in order to take wheat off the market a subsidy is paid on it if it is used for animal feed. In order to ensure that the wheat is not subsequently used for human consumption it has to be "denatured" by the addition of a dye or fish-oil or it has to be directly incorporated into animal feeding stuffs in controlled conditions. [Interruption.] It is what we do for potatoes at the moment.

Finally, there is support buying and storage of commodities to prevent or diminish market fluctuations and to maintain farmers' returns. A price level is established at which the intervention agencies will accept the commodity concerned for intervention-buying. As the price rises again, as a result of intervention-buying and the levies working, the agency will stop buying the commodity for intervention and start to sell it at a higher price, if possible. All these actions take place at predetermined price levels. All this means that producers and groups of producers will have to take rather more active decisions in the EEC support system. They will have to decide for instance, whether they want their wheat denatured or want to offer produce for intervention buying. Of course, in the early part of the transition period, while they are getting used to the new system, guaranteed prices, as we know them now, will continue to operate.

Mr. Peart

The Minister mentioned support buying of various commodities for which the organisation will be responsible. Will that apply to meat commodities?

Mr. Prior

I am coming to that point. However, it certainly would apply to meat commodities.

It is important to understand that under the EEC support system the Board will not be performing an active rôle in commodity markets. It will not be intervening when, in its commercial judgment, the market is weakening. Its buying function is essentially a passive one. It will be ready to accept parcels of commodities of a pre-determined size at a pre-determined price when the market price falls to a level at which buying is authorised by the Community system.

There is, of course, a system for cereals called "Intervention B" under which a member State can be authorised to operate intervention at a special level for a limited time to meet special market difficulties. But the Government concerned must propose this and, if accepted by the Commission, it is discussed in the management committee with the representatives of the other member States. When "Intervention B" has been approved, it is operated by the intervention agency in exactly the same way as ordinary intervention.

The passive nature of the support buying rôle of the Board needs to be emphasised since it explains why the main emphasis in organising the Board as an intervention agency needs to be on proper control of finance and administrative efficiency rather than on commodity expertise or commercial judgment.

Mr. Deakins

Will the right hon. Gentleman tell us about aid for private storage which is permitted under certain regulations of the EEC? Is it the Minister's intention that the Board should give such aid?

Mr. Prior

I am coming to this matter later on the question of meat. The Board would have certain powers in this respect, but they would be very closely controlled.

We want to keep the size of the Board's staff as modest as possible. For example, the checking of the validity of export refund claims will be done by Customs and Excise. As far as possible, the agricultural departments will provide common services for the Board on the main establishment functions like accommodation and staff inspection and, at least in the formative stages, on legal matters. As well as this, the regional and technical staff of the agricultural departments will be employed, where possible, on appropriate duties. The Home Grown Cereals Authority and the Meat and Livestock Commission will be employed as the Board's agents to perform specifically defined blocks of work.

My hon. Friend the Minister of State announced in the House on 9th May that we had invited the Home Grown Cereals Authority to undertake, as executive agent of the Intervention Board, functions relating to denaturing, support buying, storage and selling and the collection of price information. The Authority has accepted this rôle, and discussions are proceeding on the necessary organisations and procedural arrangements.

I can now inform the Committee that the Meat and Livestock Commission has been invited to undertake a similar rôle in Great Britain as agent of the Board in respect of beef and pigmeat, The MLC will be carrying out specific functions relating to support buying and storage of commodities purchased by the Intervention Board and to the operation of aids to private storage. So, to this extent, that answers the question put to me by the hon. Member for Waltham-stow, West (Mr. Deakins). The MLC will also assist with the collection and provision of necessary price information.

In Northern Ireland corresponding agency functions will be performed by the Ministry of Agriculture for Northern Ireland. Discussions are proceeding on the detailed implementation of these arrangements and on the procedures to be followed in the meat sector. The right hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Peart) asked me whether we had an intervention system for meat. I cannot believe that it will be needed very soon, but perhaps it would help me if it was.

In order to carry out its functions effectively, the offices of the Board need to be so placed that there is relatively easy access from all parts of the country and that contact with the agricultural departments and with Brussels can be made fairly rapidly. It is therefore proposed, in order to meet these requirements, to have the main office in Reading, a small secretariat office in central London, and regional offices in Scotland and Northern Ireland and, perhaps, in Wales.

I should emphasise that it is absolutely essential that the whole system should be working effectively on 1st February next year. We therefore have to use to the full the existing administrative and technical resources that are available in the planning stages, while at the same time being ready to move staff quickly to the Board as soon as it is set up. We had to adopt the simplest system and that likely to throw up the fewest communications and geographical problems. Reading is ideally situated from this point of view, and the right kind of accommodation is available there. Given the great deal of organisation and planning to be done in a very short time, an effective pragmatic solution was essential; but it should certainly not be regarded as necessarily creating a precedent for the location of other organisations which may be required in the EEC.

We do not propose that the Board should be unnecessarily centralised in Reading. The Reading organisation will cover the licensing and restitution functions and exercise general control over the support buying and denaturing functions. However, the agents of the Board—the Home Grown Cereals Authority, the Meat and Livestock Commission and the Agricultural Departments—will have staff based in the regions to undertake the operational work. In addition, the Board will have offices in Scotland, Northern Ireland and perhaps Wales to provide information and advice to those concerned as well as co-ordinating, where necessary, the work of the Board and its agents in those countries.

Mr. John M. Temple (City of Chester)

I am somewhat concerned about my right hon. Friend saying that the Board's composition will be rather small. I had felt that producers and consumers and, indeed, farm workers should be represented on the Board. Can my right hon. Friend help me and the Committee by informing us about the compositions of boards of a similar nature in other Common Market countries?

Mr. Prior

Other Common Market countries do not have precisely the same types of board as we have. This is rather different from any type of board that we have set up in this country—for example, the Meat and Livestock Commission and the Home Grown Cereals Authority, to which we have given executive and policy functions which this Board does not have. The real purpose of the Board, as such, in its executive functions is to give guidance to the Department generally on matters of trade, and so on. The main policy decisions are bound still to remain those which are formulated within the Department and for which the Minister and the Government are answerable to the House. So it is a rather different type of board from those which my hon. Friend is thinking of in terms of other agricultural produce.

6.30 p.m.

Mr. John Morris (Aberavon)

The right hon. Gentleman said that perhaps one of the regional offices would be in Wales. When will that be decided?

Mr. Prior

I said that perhaps there would be a regional office in Wales. No firm decision has been made yet, but I will let the right hon. Gentleman know as soon as one has been. [Interruption.] The Opposition have asked me an enormous number of questions and I am replying in some detail. It is important, as these questions were asked, that I should have a proper opportunity to answer, and this is the right place to do so. [Interruption.] I have already answered an enormous number of questions from hon. Members on both sides of the Committee.

I turn now to the question of finance, which was mentioned by the hon. Member for Edinburgh, East (Mr. Strang). Funds for the board's operations will be provided from Community funds in advance, except for the support buying of produce. For this, the Community fund refunds after the event the net loss incurred by the board through the purchase, storage and subsequent sale of produce. The administrative costs of the board are not borne by FEOGA, and, therefore, the costs of salaries and wages and the general running costs of the board will be borne by the Exchequer.

Hon. Members will readily appreciate that to have a board operational by 1st February, 1973—and we must have it by then if we are not to be in danger of losing substantial sums—requires much detailed planning. Staff need to be recruited, equipped and trained, and it will probably be necessary to take options at least on some storage space. As time is short, I have set these preparations in train in my Department. Staff and other administrative costs will be borne for the time being on the Ministry's Vote, but there are some items for which express provision needs to be made and for these I propose to submit a Supplementary Estimate before the Summer Recess. If it should prove necessary to make any payments before moneys are voted, I propose to draw on the contingency fund.

Mr. Farr

Will my right hon. Friend remember to mention if Liverpool or Duisburg will remain the area of greatest cereal deficiency in the Ten? When will he list the marketing centres in this country?

Mr. Prior

I will come to the question of cereal intervention.

Of course, work will go ahead as rapidly as possible in every way, and I would like to take this opportunity to honour an undertaking I made on Clause 2 to provide as much information as possible on the arrangements that will apply to cereals after 1st February, 1973. Since these arrangements constitute the cornerstone of the common agricultural policy, and since the Intervention Board's activities, certainly in the initial period, are likely to be largely concentrated on cereals, I believe them to be relevant to this Amendment.

The objective set out in the Act of Accession is to achieve a smooth transition from our present system to that of the common agricultural policy as we gradually move our prices towards the levels obtaining in the Community. As part of this process, as my hon. Friend the Minister of State told the House on 9th May, we want to preserve normal patterns of trade in this country subject to such changes in sources of supply as are likely to come about through our membership of an enlarged Community.

While the common agricultural policy introduces a new element into our support system—namely, intervention, including support buying and the denaturing of wheat—inother respects there will be little change in substance in the main elements of the support system that we now have. Internal prices will continue, as under our existing system of minimum import prices, to be maintained through the threshold price. Deficiency payments will continue until they are phased out as provided for under the Act of Accession. Improved and effective systems of marketing will be particularly important, and I must emphasise that the Community system of intervention is not designed to replace marketing.

As my hon. Friend said on 9th May, we fully recognise the importance of obtaining early decisions on those aspects of the new system which will have to be determined in Brussels. We have been in close touch with the Commission and with our future partners in the enlarged Community about this. They have all accepted the need for early decisions, and the matter is now firmly on the agenda of the Council of Agricultural Ministers—indeed, it discussed it earlier this week. Much of the preparatory work has already been done.

I am confident, therefore, that we can expect to see the necessary decisions taken before the end of July about the level of compensatory amounts, the pattern and prices of intervention centres, and the arrangements for making good export restitution and for pre-fixing levies in respect of transactions entered into before 1st February, 1973.

I am aware of some feeling that the end of July is too late and that the arrangements should have been announced sooner if disorder in the trade and in our markets is to be avoided. Naturally, I, too, would have preferred an earlier date. But we must be realistic about this. 1st February will be at least six months ahead of the date on which these arrangements will have been announced. Until the end of December our existing and familiar system of minimum import prices will be maintained as a support to market prices or home-grown grains, so that there is no new factor that can affect the market situation up to that date. Thereafter, we shall need to make some interim arrangements for January. While I cannot announce what these will be at this stage, I have no intention that they should depart in substance from the arrangements that we at present have.

As I have said, the principal element affecting home market prices after 1st February will be the level of external protection; namely, the Community's threshold prices adjusted by the compensatory amounts. The Act of Accession provides in Article 51(3) …that the application of the Community rules results in a level of market prices comparable with the level recorded"—in the United Kingdom—during a representative period preceding the implementation of the Community rules". The mechanism to give effect to this is the compensatory amount. [Interruption.] I am trying to get through as fast as I can, but this is a very important matter for the Committee.

I am confident that we shall, within the period up to the end of July, be able to give all the information required to the House on these points and that there need be no fear after the end of the year that there will be a sudden jump in prices or anything of that nature. [Interruption.]

I have tried to answer the questions, the many detailed questions, which were put to me by hon. Members opposite. I am sorry that they do not wish to hear the argument pursued. I hope that the explanations I have given will at least satisfy some of my hon. Friends.

Mr. Alfred Morris (Manchester, Wythenshawe)

The right hon. Gentleman must not give the impression that his studiedly prepared speech was an attempt to answer points that had been raised in the debate. It is felt very strongly on this side of the Committee that there should have been a White Paper incorporating the Minister's detailed policy statement in advance of this debate. We say to the right hon. Gentleman that it is deeply deplorable and an insult to the Committee that he did not inform our discussions with a White Paper on all that he has now said about the Intervention Board.

We have heard that henceforth the Ministry will become the "Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Food and Intervention". The Minister must not object if we say that the Ministry is well on the way to becoming known as the "Maffia". The Opposition are concerned to ensure adequate representation for consumers. The right hon. Gentleman said very little about the consumer interest. Why does he so completely neglect our arguments in support of consumer representation? Is it that he has a guilty conscience? There have been 15,000 price increases since he became the Minister.

We are also concerned about the representation of agricultural workers. Farmers can be expected to have a very keen interest in the work of the Intervention Board. The consumers and working people have an equally important interest. The National Union of Agricultural and Allied Workers is responsibly led and Mr. Reg Bottini and his colleagues have an important contribution to make.

The Committee has been treated with some contempt. I ask the Minister to ensure that we have the fullest possible further statement on his proposals about the Intervention Board which hon. Members can read and study carefully.

It is impossible adequately to debate these important Amendments. We are in a period of government by guillotine. It is not just this Bill which is being guillotined. Other extremely important legislation has been subjected to the guillotine by this Government. Yesterday was the longest day of the year. This debate, in proportion to its importance is the shortest debate of the epoch. The common agricultural policy is of vital importance to the living conditions of the people of this country. I ask my right hon. and hon. Friends to vote for the Amendment as a demonstration of our determination to defeat the insistence of the Government on silencing parliamentary discussion and ignoring the interests of consumers and workers alike.

Question put, That the Amendment be made:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 265, Noes 281.

Division No. 238.] AYES [6.45 p.m.
Abse, Leo Foley, Maurice McNamara, J. Kevin
Allen, Scholefield Foot, Michael Mahon, Simon (Bootle)
Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis) Ford, Ben Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)
Ashley, Jack Forrester, John Marks, Kenneth
Ashton, Joe Fraser, John (Norwood) Marquand, David
Atkinson, Norman Freeson, Reginald Marsden, F.
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Gilbert, Dr. John Marshall, Dr. Edmund
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Ginsburg, David (Dewsbury) Marten, Neil
Barnett, Joel (Heywood and Royton) Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C. Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood Gourlay, Harry Mayhew, Christopher
Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Grant, George (Morpeth) Meacher, Michael
Bidwell, Sydney Grant, John D. (Islington, E.) Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert
Biffen, John Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside) Mendelson, John
Bishop, E. S. Griffiths, Will (Exchange) Mikardo, Ian
Blenkinsop, Arthur Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Millan, Bruce
Boardman, H. (Leigh) Hamilton, William (Fife, W.) Miller, Dr. M. S.
Body, Richard Hamling, William Milne, Edward
Booth, Albert Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill) Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, Itchen)
Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur Hardy, Peter Moate, Roger
Boyden, James (Bishop Auckland) Harper, Joseph Molloy, William
Bradley, Tom Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)
Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,W.) Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan) Hattersley, Roy Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)
Heffer, Eric S. Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon)
Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury) Hooson, Emlyn Moyle, Roland
Buchan, Norman Horam, John Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn) Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Murray, Ronald King
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Huckfield, Leslie Oakes, Gordon
Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey) Ogden, Eric
Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.) Hughes, Mark (Durham) O'Halloran, Michael
Cant, R. B. Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.) O'Malley, Brian
Carmichael, Neil Hughes, Roy (Newport) Oram, Bert
Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield) Hunter, Adam Orbach, Maurice
Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles) Irvine,Rt.Hn.SirArthur(Edge Hill) Orme, Stanley
Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara Janner, Greville Oswald, Thomas
Clark, David (Colne Valley) Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton)
Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.) Jeger, Mrs. Lena
Cohen, Stanley Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) Padley, Walter
Coleman, Donald Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford) Paget, R. T.
Concannon, J. D. John, Brynmor Palmer, Arthur
Conlan, Bernard Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.) Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles
Crawshaw, Richard Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.) Parker, John (Dagenham)
Cronin, John Jones, Barry (Flint, E.) Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange)
Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony Jones, Dan (Burnley) Pavitt, Laurie
Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard Jones,Rt.Hn.Sir Elwyn(W.Ham,S.) Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred
Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.) Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen) Pendry, Tom
Dalyell, Tam Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.) Pentland, Norman
Darling, Rt. Hn. George Judd, Frank Perry, Ernest G.
Davidson, Arthur Kaufman, Gerald Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch
Davies, Denzil (Llanelly) Kelley, Richard Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.
Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.) Kerr, Russell Prescott, John
Davis. Terry (Bromsgrove) Kinnock, Neil Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Deakins, Eric Lambie, David Price, William (Rugby)
de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey Lamond, James Probert, Arthur
Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund Latham, Arthur Rankin, John
Dempsey, James Leadbitter, Ted Reed, D. (Sedgefield)
Doig, Peter Leonard, Dick Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)
Dormand, J. D. Lestor, Miss Joan Rhodes, Geoffrey
Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.) Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.) Richard, Ivor
Douglas-Mann, Bruce Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Driberg, Tom Lipton, Marcus Roberts, Rt.Hn.Goronwy(Caernarvon)
Duffy, A. E. P. Lomas, Kenneth Robertson, John (Paisley)
Dunnett, Jack Loughlin, Charles Roderick, Caerwyn E.(Br'c'n & R'dnor)
Eadie, Alex Lyon, Alexander W. (York) Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees)
Edelman, Maurice Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.) Roper, John
Edwards, William (Merioneth) Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Rose, Paul B.
Ellis, Tom McBride, Neil Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)
English, Michael McCartney, Hugh Rowlands, Ted
Evans, Fred McElhone, Frank Sandelson, Neville
Ewing, Henry McGuire, Michael Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)
Faulds, Andrew Mackenzie, Gregor Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)
Fell, Anthony Mackie, John Short, Rt.Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)
Fisher, Mrs. Doris (B'ham,Ladywood) Mackintosh, John P. Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)
Fitch, Alan (Wigan) Maclennan, Robert Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)
Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston) McMaster, Stanley Sillars, James
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) McMillian, Tom (Glasgow, C.) Silverman, Julius
Skinner, Dennis Tinn, James Whitehead, Phillip
Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.) Tomney, Frank Whitlock, William
Spearing, Nigel Torney, Tom Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Spriggs, Leslie Urwin, T. W. Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Stallard, A. W. Varley, Eric G. Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Stewart, Donald (Western Isles) Wainwright, Edwin Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham) Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints) Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Stoddart, David (Swindon) Walker, Harold (Doncaster) Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)
Strang, Gavin Wallace, George Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley Watkins, David Woof, Robert
Swain, Thomas Weitzman, David
Taverne, Dick Wellbeloved, James TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Thomas,Rt.Hn.George (Cardiff,W.) Wells, William (Walsall, N.) Mr. John Golding and
Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery) White, James (Glasgow, Pollok) Mr. James A. Dunne.
Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.)
Adley, Robert Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Kellett-Bowman, Mrs. Elaine
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash) Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,N.) Kershaw, Anthony
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Eyre, Reginald Kimball, Marcus
Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian Fenner, Mrs. Peggy King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)
Archer, Jeffrey (Louth) Fidler, Michael King, Tom, (Bridgwater)
Astor, John Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead) Kinsey, J. R.
Awdry, Daniel Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton) Kirk, Peter
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone) Fookes, Miss Janet Kitson, Timothy
Balniel, Rt. Hn. Lord Fortescue, Tim Knight, Mrs. Jill
Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony Foster, Sir John Knox, David
Batsford, Brian Fowler, Norman Lambton, Lord
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Fry, Peter Lamont, Norman
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport) Galbraith, Hn. T. G. Lane, David
Benyon, W. Gardner, Edward Langford-Holt, Sir John
Biggs-Davison, John Gibson-Watt, David Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry
Blaker, Peter Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.) Le Merchant, Spencer
Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.) Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.) Glyn, Dr. Alan Lloyd, Rt.Hn. Geoffrey(Sut'nC'dfield)
Boscawen, Robert Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B. Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langston)
Bossom, Sir Clive Goodhart, Philip Longden, Sir Gilbert
Bowden, Andrew Goodhew, Victor Loveridge, John
Braine, Sir Bernard Gorst, John Luce, R. N.
Bray, Ronald Gower, Raymond MacArthur, Ian
Brinton, Sir Tatton Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.) McCrindle, R. A.
Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher Gray, Hamish McLaren, Martin
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Green, Alan Maclean, Sir Fitzroy
Bruce Gardyne, J. Grieve, Percy Macmillan, Rt.Hn.Maurice (Farnham)
Bryan, Sir Paul Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds) McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest)
Buchanan-Smith, Alick(Angus,N & M) Grimond, Rt. Hn. J. Maddan, Martin
Buck, Antony Grylls, Michael Madel, David
Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Gummer, Selwyn Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest
Campbell, Rt.Hn.G.(Moray & Nairn) Gurden, Harold Mather, Carol
Carlisle, Mark Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley) Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald
Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert Hall, John (Wycombe) Mawby, Ray
Channon, Paul Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.
Chapman, Sydney Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Meyer, Sir Anthony
Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher Hannam, John (Exeter) Mills, Peter (Torrington)
Chichester-Clark, R. Harrison, Brian (Maldon) Miscampbell, Norman
Churchill, W. S. Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Mitchell,Lt.-Col.C.(Aberdeenshire,W)
Clark, William (Surrey, E.) Haselhurst, Alan Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Hastings, Stephen Money, Ernle
Cockeram, Eric Havers, Michael
Cooke, Robert Hayhoe, Barney Monks, Mrs. Connie
Coombs, Derek Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward Monro, Hector
Cooper, A. E. Hicks, Robert Montgomery, Fergus
Cordle, John Higgins, Terence L. More, Jasper
Hiley, Joseph Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)
Corfield, Rt. Hn. Sir Frederick Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.) Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.
Cormack, Patrick Hill, James (Southampton, Test) Morrison, Charles
Costain, A. P. Holland, Philip Mudd, David
Critchley, Julian Holt, Miss Mary Murton, Oscar
Crouch, David Hordern, Peter Neave, Airey
Crowder, F. P. Hornby, Richard Nicholls, Sir Harmar
Dalkeith, Earl of Hornsby Smith, Rt.Hn. Dame Patricia Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael
Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford) Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate) Normanton, Tom
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.) Nott, John
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid,Maj.-Gen.James Hunt, John Onslow, Cranley
Dean, Paul Iremonger, T. L. Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally
Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. James, David Osborn, John
Digby, Simon Wingfield Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford) Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.)
Dixon, Piers Jessel, Toby Page, Rt. Hn. Graham (Crosby)
Dodds-Parker, Douglas Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead) Page, John (Harrow, W.)
Drayson, G. B. Johnston, Russell (Inverness) Pardoe, John
du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.) Parkinson, Cecil
Dykes, Hugh Jopling, Micheal Peel, John
Eden, Sir John Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith Percival, Ian
Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Kaberry, Sir Donald Peyton, Rt. Hn. John
Pike, Miss Mervyn Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby) Trafford, Dr. Anthony
Pink, R. Bonner Shelton, William (Clapham) Trew, Peter
Price, David (Eastleigh) Simeons, Charles Tugendhat, Christopher
Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L. Sinclair, Sir George van Straubenzee, W. R.
Proudfoot, Wilfred Skeet, T. H. H. Vaughan, Dr. Gerard
Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington) Vickers, Dame Joan
Quennell, Miss J. M. Soref, Harold Waddington, David
Raison, Timothy Speed, Keith Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James Spence, John Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)
Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter Sproat, Iain Wall, Patrick
Redmond, Robert Stainton, Keith Walters, Dennis
Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.) Stanbrook, Ivor Ward, Dame Irene
Rees, Peter (Dover) Stewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper) Warren, Kenneth
Rees-Davies, W. R. Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.) Wells, John (Maidstone)
Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M. White, Roger (Gravesend)
Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon Stokes, John Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William
Ridley, Hn. Nicholas Stuttaford, Dr. Tom Wiggin, Jerry
Ridsdale, Julian Tapsell, Peter Wilkinson, John
Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne) Winterton, Nicholas
Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.) Taylor, Frank (Moss Side) Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
Roberts, Wyn (Conway) Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.) Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher
Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks) Tebbit, Norman Woodnutt, Mark
Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey) Temple, John M. Worsley, Marcus
Rost, Peter Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.
Royle, Anthony Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth) Younger, Hn. George
St. John-Stevas, Norman Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.)
Sandys, Rt. Hn. D. Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Scott, Nicholas Thorpe, Rt. Hn. Jeremy Mr. Paul Hawkins and
Sharples, Richard Tilney, John Mr. Marcus Fox.

Question accordingly negatived.

Amendment proposed: No. 273, in page 9, line 24, after 'produce', insert 'or consumption'.—[Mr. Peart.]

The Committee divided: Ayes 267. Noes 282.

Division No. 239.] AYES [6.55 p.m.
Abse, Leo Dalyell, Tam Griffiths, Will (Exchange)
Allen, Scholefield Darling, Rt. Hn. George Hamilton, James (Bothwell)
Ashley, Jack Davidson, Arthur Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)
Ashton, Joe Davies, Denzil (Llanelly) Hamling, William
Atkinson, Norman Davies, Ifor (Gower) Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill)
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.) Hardy, Peter
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove) Harper, Joseph
Barnett, Joel (Heywood and Royton) Deakins, Eric Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith
Bennett, James (Glasgow. Bridgeton) Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund Hattersley, Roy
Bidwell, Sydney Dempsey, James Heffer, Eric S.
Biffen, John Doig, Peter Hooson, Emlyn
Bishop, E. S. Dormand, J. D. Horam, John
Blenkinsop, Arthur Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.) Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas
Boardman, H. (Leigh) Douglas-Mann, Bruce Howell, Denis (Small Heath)
Body, Richard Driberg, Tom Huckfield, Leslie
Booth, Albert Duffy, A. E. P Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)
Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur Dunnett, Jack Hughes, Mark (Durham)
Boyden, James (Bishop Auckland) Eadie, Alex Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.)
Bradley, Tom Edelman, Maurice Hughes, Roy (Newport)
Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,W.) Edwards, William (Merioneth) Hunter, Adam
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan) Ellis, Tom Irvine,Rt.Hn.Sir Arthur (Edge Hill)
Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury) English, Michael Janner, Greville
Buchan, Norman Evans, Fred Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, S'pburn) Ewing, Henry Jeger, Mrs. Lena
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Faulds, Andrew Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)
Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James Fell, Anthony Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)
Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.) Fisher,Mrs. Doris(B'ham,Ladywood) John, Brynmor
Cant, R. B. Fitch, Alan (Wigan) Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)
Carmichael, Neil Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston) Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.)
Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield) Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Jones, Barry (Flint, E.)
Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles) Foley, Maurice Jones, Dan (Burnley)
Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara Foot, Michael Jones,Rt.Hn.Sir Elwyn(W.Ham,S.)
Clark, David (Colne Valley) Ford, Ben Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen)
Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.) Forrester, John Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.)
Cohen, Stanley Fraser, John (Norwood) Judd, Frank
Coleman, Donald Freeson, Reginald Kaufman, Gerald
Concannon, J. D. Gilbert, Dr. John Kelley, Richard
Conlan, Bernard Ginsburg, David (Dewsbury) Kerr, Russell
Crawshaw, Richard Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C. Kilfedder, James
Cronin, John Gourlay, Harry Kinnock, Neil
Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony Grant, George (Morpeth) Lambie, David
Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard Grant, John D. (Islington, E.) Lamond, James
Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.) Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside) Latham, Arthur
Leadbitter, Ted Murray, Ronald King Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)
Leonard, Dick Oakes, Gordon Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)
Lestor, Miss Joan Ogden, Eric Sillars, James
Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.) O'Halloran, Michael Silverman, Julius
Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) O'Malley, Brian Skinner, Dennis
Lipton, Marcus Oram, Bert Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)
Lomas, Kenneth Orbach, Maurice Spearing, Nigel
Loughlin, Charles Orme, Stanley Spriggs, Leslie
Lyon, Alexander W. (York) Oswald, Thomas Stallard, A. W.
Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.) Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton) Stewart, Donald (Western Isles)
Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Padley, Walter Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham)
McBride, Neil Paget, R. T. Stoddart, David (Swindon)
McCartney, Hugh Paisley, Rev. Ian Strang, Gavin
McElhone, Frank Palmer, Arthur Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley
McGuire, Michael Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles Swain, Thomas
Mackenzie, Gregor Parker John (Dagenham) Taverne, Dick
Mackie, John Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange) Thomas,Rt.Hn.George (Cardiff,W.)
Mackintosh, John P. Pavitt, Laurie Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Maclennan, Robert Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.)
McMaster, Stanley Pendry, Tom Tinn, James
McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.) Pentland, Norman Tomney, Frank
McNamara, J. Kevin Perry, Ernest G. Torney, Tom
Mahon, Simon (Bootle) Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch Urwin, T. W.
Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield,E.) Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg. Varley, Eric G.
Marks, Kenneth Prescott, John Wainwright, Edwin
Marquand, David Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints)
Marsden, F. Price, William (Rugby) Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Marshall, Dr. Edmund Probert, Arthur Wallace, George
Marten, Neil Rankin, John Watkins, David
Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy Reed, D. (Sedgefield) Weitzman, David
Mayhew, Christopher Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.) Wellbeloved, James
Meacher, Michael Rhodes, Geoffrey White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)
Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert Richard, Ivor Whitehead, Phillip
Mendelson, John Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Whitlock, William
Mikardo, Ian Roberts,Rt.Hn.Goronwy (Caernarvon) Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Millan, Bruce Robertson, John (Paisley) Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Miller, Dr. M. S. Roderick,Caerwyn E.(Br'c'n & R'dnor) Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Milne, Edward Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees) Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, Itchen) Roper, John Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Moate, Roger Rose, Paul B. Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)
Molloy, William Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock) Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire) Rowlands, Ted Woof, Robert
Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Sandelson, Neville
Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw) Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon) Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney) Mr. John Golding and
Moyle, Roland Short,Rt.Hn.Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne) Mr. James A. Dunn.
Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Adley, Robert Chapman, Sydney Fenner, Mrs. Peggy
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash) Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher Fidler, Michael
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Chichester-Clark, R. Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead)
Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian Churchill, W. S. Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton)
Archer, Jeffrey (Louth) Clark, William (Surrey, E.) Fookes, Miss Janet
Astor, John Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Fortescue, Tim
Awdry, Daniel Cockeram, Eric Foster, Sir John
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone) Cooke, Robert Fowler, Norman
Balniel, Rt. Hn. Lord Coombs, Derek Fry, Peter
Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony Cooper, A. E. Galbraith, Hn. T. G.
Batsford, Brian Cordle, John Gardner, Edward
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Corfield, Rt. Hn. Sir Frederick Gibson-Watt, David
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport) Cormack, Patrick Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)
Benyon, W. Costain, A. P. Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)
Biggs-Davison, John Critchley, Julian Glyn, Dr. Alan
Blaker, Peter Crouch, David Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.) Crowder, F. P. Goodhart, Philip
Boscawen, Robert Dalkeith, Earl of Goodhew, Victor
Bossom, Sir Clive Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford) Gorst, John
Bowden, Andrew d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Gower, Raymond
Braine, Sir Bernard d'Avigdor-Goldsmid,Maj.-Gen.James Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.)
Bray, Ronald Dean, Paul Gray, Hamish
Brinton, Sir Tatton Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. Green, Alan
Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher Digby, Simon Wingfield Grieve, Percy
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Dixon, Piers Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)
Bruce-Gardyne, J. Dodds-Parker, Douglas Grimond, Rt. Hn. J.
Bryan, Sir Paul Drayson, G. B. Grylls, Michael
Buchanan-Smith, Alick(Angus,N & M) du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward Gummer, J. Selwyn
Buck, Antony Dykes, Hugh Gurden, Harold
Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Eden, Sir John Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley)
Campbell, Rt. Hn.G.(Moray & Nairn) Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Hall, John (Wycombe)
Carlisle, Mark Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Hall-Davis, A. G. F.
Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.) Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)
Channon, Paul Eyre, Reginald Hannam, John (Exeter)
Harrison, Brian (Maldon) Masher, Carol Scott, Nicholas
Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald Sharples, Richard
Haselhurst, Alan Mawby, Ray Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)
Hastings, Stephen Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Shelton, William (Clapham)
Havers, Michael Meyer, Sir Anthony Simeons, Charles
Hayhoe, Barney Mills, Peter (Torrington) Sinclair, Sir George
Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward Miscampbell, Norman Skeet, T. H. H.
Hicks, Robert Mitchell, Lt.-Col.C.(Aberdeenshire,W) Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)
Higgins, Terence L. Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Soref, Harold
Hiley, Joseph Money, Ernle Speed, Keith
Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.) Monks, Mrs. Connie Spence, John
Hill, James (Southampton, Test) Monro, Hector Sproat, Iain
Holland, Philip Montgomery, Fergus Stainton, Keith
Holt, Miss Mary More, Jasper Stanbrook, Ivor
Hordern, Peter Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh) Stewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper)
Hornby, Richard Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm. Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)
Hornsby-Smith, Rt.Hn.Dame Patricia Morrison, Charles Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.
Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate) Mudd, David Stokes, John
Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.) Murton, Oscar Stuttaford, Dr. Tom
Hunt, John Neave, Airey Tapsell, Peter
Iremonger, T. L. Nicholls, Sir Harmar Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
James, David Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael Taylor,Edward M.(G'gow,Cathcart)
Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford) Normanton, Tom Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)
Jessel, Toby Nott, John Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)
Onslow, Cranley Tebbit, Norman
Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead) Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally Temple, John M.
Johnston, Russell (Inverness) Osborn, John Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret
Jones, Arthur (Northants, S. Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.) Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)
Jopling, Michael Page, Rt. Hn. Graham (Crosby) Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.)
Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith Page, John (Harrow, W.) Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)
Kaberry, Sir Donald Pardoe, John Thorpe, Rt. Hn. Jeremy
Kellett-Bowman, Mrs. Elaine Parkinson, Cecil Tilney, John
Kershaw, Anthony Peel, John Trafford, Dr. Anthony
Kimball, Marcus Percival, Ian Trew, Peter
King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.) Peyton, Rt. Hn. John Tugendhat, Christopher
King, Tom (Bridgwater) Pike, Miss Mervyn van Straubenzee, W. R.
Kinsey, J. R. Pink, R. Bonner Vaughan, Dr. Gerard
Kirk, Peter Price, David (Eastleigh) Vickers, Dame Joan
Kitson, Timothy Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L. Waddington, David
Knight, Mrs. Jill Proudfoot, Wilfred Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Knox, David Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)
Lambton, Lord Quennell, Miss J. M. Wall, Patrick
Lamont, Norman Raison, Timothy Walters, Dennis
Lane, David Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James Ward, Dame Irene
Langford-Holt, Sir John Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter Warren, Kenneth
Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Redmont, Robert Wells, John (Maidstone)
Le Marchant, Spencer Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.) White, Roger (Gravesend)
Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Rees, Peter (Dover) Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William
Lloyd,Rt.Hn.Geoffrey(Sut'n C'dfield) Rees-Davies, W. R. Wiggin, Jerry
Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone) Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David Wilkinson, John
Longden, Sir Gilbert Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon Winterton, Nicholas
Loveridge, John Ridley, Hn. Nicholas Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
Luce, R. N. Ridsdale, Julian Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher
MacArthur, Ian Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey Woodnutt, Mark
McCrindle, R. A. Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.) Worsley, Marcus
McLaren, Martin Roberts, Wyn (Conway) Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.
Maclean, Sir Fitzroy Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks) Younger, Hn. George
Macmillan,Rt.Hn.Maurice (Farnham) Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest) Rost, Peter TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Maddan, Martin Royle, Anthony Mr. Marcus Fox and
Madel, David St. John-Stevas, Norman Mr. Paul Hawkins.
Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest Sandys, Rt. Hn. D.

Question accordingly negatived.

Mr. Peart

I beg to move Amendment No. 443, in page 10, line 44, leave out subsection (7).

The Temporary Chairman

It will be convenient also to discuss the following Opposition Amendments: No. 386, in page 11, line 3, leave out from 'made' to 'provide' in line 5 and insert: 'in pursuance of an affirmative resolution of each House of Parliament'.

No. 384, in line 17, at end add: (9) Nothing in this section shall prevent annual negotiations between the United King- dom Government and representatives of agricultural producers to be followed by the publication of a review containing details of farm production and changes in costs throughout the previous 12 months, and listing the proposed target indicator prices, intervention buying prices, level of production grants, and the levels at which the various import levies shall be fixed.

and No. 387, in line 17, at end add: (9) Nothing in the foregoing provisions of this section shall remove the duty of the Minister to fix the level of production grants, improvement grants and of deficiency payments following upon an annual farm price review.

Mr. Peart

The Amendments deal with the whole pricing system of the Community because the Clause deals with the phasing out of the existing support system to prepare the way for the Community levy system. Subsection (7) deals specifically with this and says that the Agriculture Act, 1957, should cease to apply to produce of any description mentioned in Schedule 1 to that Act". On the last debate I mentioned the 1957 Act and the Agriculture Act, 1947. The 1957 Act was based on experience derived from the 1947 Act, which dealt with assured markets and guaranteed prices. The system was later modified, and in the 1957 Act the guarantees were safeguarded so that the farmer would be certain that as a result of a Price Review there would be no major cuts in guarantees. The 1947 and 1957 legislation represented the consensus of all parties.

In the Clause we are ending a system which worked well. The Minister said that we have probably been wedded to it for too long. I confess that I feel some nostalgia for it. But the levy system in the Community is not working well. I will not deploy my argument in too great detail on the Amendment because I know that many hon. Members want to move on to a major debate on the Question "That Clause stand part of the Bill" so that the common agricultural policy can be discussed. The hon. Member for Gainsborough (Mr. Kimball) mentioned the effect of the Treaty of Accession on New Zealand, but I shall deal with that, too, during the major debate.

The Minister's statement was so important that we should discuss it when we discuss the Clause as a whole. It was so important that it should have been contained in a White Paper. His speech contained a major reform of Government. It is a major matter affecting responsibility in other spheres and should have been dealt with by the Prime Minister. I was surprised that the Minister made that speech.

However, we are now debating whether we should adopt the levy system and whether or not we should phase out guarantees under the 1957 Act covering various commodities in Schedule 1, including wheat, barley, oats, rye and livestock products, including fat cattle, fat sheep and fat pigs, and liquid cow's milk. All these are mentioned in the Schedule. Hon. Members who follow the subject with interest know full well the implications of our Amendment and why we are moving it.

If we are considering the determination of guarantees under the Community policy we must think about discussions with the farming community. I hope that hon. Members have carefully read in Part I of the Treaty of Accession the declaration dealing with the new system for fixing Community farm prices, which we shall have to adopt when we join the Community. It is a very important declaration, in which is spelt out in great detail the policy we shall have to adopt. The policy in no way matches up to the type of Price Review procedure we have been used to under the 1947 Act legislation and the 1957 Act legislation. I dealt with four Price Review negotiations when I was Minister. There were often great arguments between the farming community and the Government on such occasions, under Governments of different political complexions. Such discussion was right and proper. It enabled the farming community to participate in decisions which in the end were the Minister's responsibility. There was a kind of partnership which was reflected throughout the agricultural community.

The 1947 Act laid down the procedure of the Price Review. Linked with that, we had an administrative committee system whereby the farming community was brought in when executive actions had to be taken, even down to county level. The Price Review system is to go. Some farmers believe they will have a similar system in the Community. I ask them to read the declaration in the Treaty of Accession, announced by Mr. Scheel, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany, on behalf of the Community delegation, which was agreed to by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on behalf of the United Kingdom delegation. The right hon. and learned Gentleman feels that there will be effective and meaningful contacts…with producer organisations operating at Community level. I know that the National Farmers Union will play its part in its own European producer organisation, but when we consider the Community structure, the Commission itself, the Council of Ministers, we see that there cannot be the same sort of review procedure as we have under our existing legislation. My experience is that even though sometimes review procedures are rather awkward and irksome for the Ministers responsible for finally announcing their decisions to the House, and later justifying them to the farming community, the system has worked well. Under the system we now see emerging in Europe, things will never be the same. I believe that there will not be a meaningful discussion; I cannot see how it can be possible in view of the various organisations which must be consulted. In the declaration we see spelt out in detail the type of bodies, apart from farmers, which will have to be consulted. There cannot be the same type of consultation.

[MR. E. L. MALLALIEU in the Chair]

7.15 p.m.

A levy system will affect the consumer. Some people will say that under it there is a managed market behind a tariff wall, which will protect the farmer. Today we have heard the defence that there will be high prices for the farmer; but high prices for the farmer can also mean high costs for him. Many farmers within the Community have protested vigorously from time to time against decisions taken by the Brussels Commission. The many farmers in different parts of the Community who have frequently demonstrated against decisions of the Commission and the administration of the CAP, even though they have their own organisation there behind the tariff wall and have a levy, have not reached Utopia. In many ways their conditions have been inferior to those of farmers in this country.

A levy system also harms traditional suppliers. It will break down some of the long-standing international arrangements we have had with countries like New Zealand. It will harm our international relations. This is not a matter specifically for the Amendment. I have said that I should like to be brief so that we can quickly come to the main discussions on the Question "That the Clause stand part of the Bill" which are so important, but I feel strongly about the levy system. Support buying of meat does not work in other countries. It has been extremely costly. When I set up the Meat and Livestock Commission I considered whether it should be given powers of support buying, but I was pressed by farmers and the trade, who said that support buying was too expensive to be worth while. Now it is to be adopted in another form. We shall wait and see what happens. The Minister should be very cautious about it.

We are to have the managed market levy system, and the old guarantee system is to be phased out. The different system that we are to have is not working in the Community despite what hon. Members have said. I am prepared to substantiate that statement with evidence in our later debate. The system has forced up prices, and it creates an atmosphere of restriction. It creates an economic autarky. It could be disastrous for this country, which has built up relations over the years with our friends in Australia, Canada and New Zealand. It could harm friends who stood by us in time of crisis. For example, when we had a food shortage immediately after the war the New Zealanders never took advantage of their position in the market with some of their dairy products. They played their part honourably. I say that to the hon. Member for Gainsborough, who spoke rather slightingly about New Zealand's attitude today.

Above all, I shall never forget the men and women in New Zealand and Australia. Most of them are our people, and I do feel sentimental about the matter. After all, the liberty of Europe and democracy in Europe were defended and won by New Zealand and Australian men and women. We should never forget that, though some hon. Members do. I do not apologise for feeling strongly about this. When we destroy a system which has worked and introduce a levy system which harms traditional alliances, we should remember that those people volunteered when we needed their help. We did not have to ask for it. Therefore, I am sorry we are adopting the new policy. It is fundamentally wrong, as history will one day confirm.

Sir Robin Turton (Thirsk and Malton)

While we are dealing with this, it would be helpful if the Minister gave us a clearer picture of the position in British agriculture after our entry than we received on the first, rather technical, Amendment.

There are five points about which farmers are worried. The first has been referred to by the right hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Peart). We want a meaningful Review. The fear is that, after our entry, the Annual Price Review will not be the same as we have known in the past.

Second, how will the new system work? In grain, it will make a great difference to British agriculture how many intervention centres are allowed in this country. I have heard no statement about this. In countries such as France, there are 11 main and about 240 subsidiary centres, which means that the average profitability of the grain fanners in different areas is levelled out. It is of great concern to British agriculture to know exactly how the Minister contemplates this part of the policy being worked out.

There are two great worries that I have always had. I represent an area with a large number of hill farms which depend heavily on the hill sheep and hill cattle subsidies and the wool industry. Article 92 of the Treaty of Rome apparently makes it difficult to have a subsidy on the product, which is how these hill subsidies can be described. I have never had a clear assurance, either here or in Brussels, that these forms of assistance will be continued after the transitional period. If they are to be phased out, I should like to know at what stage, in the Minister's plans, this will happen.

We talk generally of being able, when we are on the "top table", to convert the Community to our methods of regional policy. But in agriculture they are two different problems. The British farmer on marginal or hill land has quite a different size of holding and faces quite different problems from similar Continental farmers. The average British holding is just over 80 acres, whereas in Italy it is 18acres.

We need certain assurances that support for wool will be continued after entry or at any rate after the transitional period and that there will be some help for the hill farmer related to the number of animals that he keeps on his holding. Many of my hill farmers probably have a holding of 60 to 100 acres, but they also have strays over moorland, thus effectively extending their holding to 800 or 1,000 acres.

These farmers must be assured that they will be no worse off after entry than they are now. Going around my hill areas, I find great concern that the transition will be disastrous for them, although no doubt it will help the barley barons.

Then there is our method of making agriculture self-sufficient and efficient by means of capital grants. In the Community, the method of assistance is by a subsidised rate of interest. The Minister knows that the Country Land Owners Association set up a working party to look into this. This has reported that in its view our system of capital grants for farmers is betting than the EEC system. They are very worried that our system will be abandoned.

In an extremely wise and far-seeing Price Review this year, the Minister or the negotiators made one glaring error in not pressing for the retention of the investment incentive. I gather that it had to be dropped because of our projected entry of the Community, where it would be contrary to their provision, since such a high rate of percentage of subsidy on capital improvements would not be allowed.

Mr. Prior

That is not true. I will deal with this matter in greater detail later, but I can assure my right hon. Friend that that was not the case.

Sir Robin Turton

I am reassured by that. I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for making that clear.

It is important that we should be able, both during the transitional period and thereafter, to help agriculture to become efficient by means of a capital grant rather than by this form of subsidised loan, which has not been effective in the EEC.

The worry in British agriculture is that the picture is obscure because the Minister has not been able to say how the different parts of British agriculture will be treated under the common agricultural policy. Bearing in mind that the CAP, whatever its virtues, is unpopular in many areas of the Community, because while some farmers gain, many lose, it is vital to British agriculture that the Minister should give us as clear a picture as possible today.

Mr. Farr

I endorse the suggestion of the right hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Peart) that the procedure should be an affirmative Resolution rather than a negative one. My own bitter experience of negative Resolutions in this place is that a Prayer that one tables in conjunction with hon. Friends is lost in the mists of time and is heard of no more.

One of the right hon. Member's Amendments makes a very modest request for the retention in some form of our traditional Price Review system. We all know that, if we enter the Market, the Price Review system can never be the same again. The next one will be the first at which the Minister will no longer be an entirely free agent. We recognise that, if and when we enter, many of the matters discussed between producers and Government will not be matters in which this Government have the last word.

All I ask—this is why I support this Amendment—is that the Minister should go through this procedure. Let him conduct the Price Review negotiations in the way suggested in the Amendment. By so doing he will create good will in the farming community who greatly value this direct access to the Minister.

The Amendment merely requires to be recorded the price levels of the past year and the critical levels for the next year. That is a modest request, and the information is essential to enable the efficient producer to be able to compete effectively. I support the Amendment.

I hope that my right hon. Friend, if he will not support it—and I do not suppose he wants to be responsible for bringing about a Report stage of the Bill—will say that there will still be a ghostly shadow left of the old Price Review system, some method by which producers continue to have direct access to the Minister of the day as they have now.

7.30 p.m.

Mr. Prior

I will detain the Committee for as short a time as possible so that we can get on to the debate on the Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill". In the last debate I went into too much detail and was criticised by the Opposition for so doing. If I do not go into detail now no doubt the Opposition will be on to me for not doing so.

The right hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Peart) paid a tribute to the Commonwealth which may not be strictly in order in this debate but, since he did so, I also pay tribute to the Commonwealth. No one on this side of the Committee who is in favour of the Bill wishes in any way to underestimate the enormous contribution made by the Commonwealth to our food supplies and to our country over many years. That is why we have throughout the negotiations done everything we can to protect the interests of the Commonwealth and in many respects have been extremely successful in so doing.

Some of the points made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Sir Robin Turton) will be best dealt with on the Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill". But since he and my hon. Friend the Member for Harborough (Mr. Farr) asked about the Annual Price Review, perhaps I should say that there is nothing in the Clause which will in any way affect the holding of reviews or the publication of a White Paper thereafter. To express a personal desire, I hope that the White Paper need not be so complicated as it sometimes is. Its preparation takes a great deal of time and effort. The provision in Section 2 of the Agriculture Act, 1947, which requires the holding of Annual Reviews will remain in force and, as was emphasised in this year's Annual Review White Paper, the Annual Review system will go on even though its content and procedure may be gradually modified.

We shall hold our own Annual Review and it will be up to the Minister to go to Brussels and speak in the Council of Ministers to protect the interests of our own agriculture. I can see that before long the National Farmers' Union, the Country Landowners' Association and the NUAW will be putting their representations in Brussels strongly, and enormously influencing the agricultural policy of the Community.

I think it will be for the convenience of the Committee if I leave until the debate on the Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill", how the intervention system will work, how our prices will move over the next five years and the question of hill sheep and hill cow subsidies and cattle grants.

Turning to Amendment No. 443, which is to omit subsection (7), the right hon. Member for Workington will know that the Government have been changing the agricultural policy and have started to move over to a levy system. It would have been our intention, had the policy continued without Community entry, over a period of years to move up our market prices until they reached the guaranteed price. At that time the guaranteed price would have been phased out. It is what the subsection seeks to do. During the transitional period we are free to retain our guarantee system for as long as it is required for any commodity. Article 55 of the Treaty of Accession allows us to move up our guaranteed prices in a series of steps similar to those by which our market price will gradually arrive at the level of the EEC common price.

Although I am by no means convinced that we shall need to operate that part of the Treaty of Accession, we have freedom of action, which is important. But the time will come when our market prices are above the guaranteed price, and at that time it is only sensible that the Government should have power to remove those commodities from the guarantee. At that stage the removal of the obligation under the present support system will be no more than a tidying-up operation which will simplify administration and allow staff engaged on that guarantee to be reassigned to other duties.

There does not seem to be any need—because the operation of the guarantee will have been overtaken by events—to require an affirmative Resolution procedure for such regulations. They will be straightforward, simply stating an appointed day for a commodity to be removed from the guarantee system and making any transitional and saving provisions that may be necessary. In most cases the facts of the situation will demonstrate the need for this, and the regulations should raise no controversy either among the farming community or in the House of Commons.

To sum up, the powers in the subsection are necessary so that the move from one system of support to another can be operated simply and economically.

Sir Robin Turton

I agree that most of the points which I raised would be better dealt with later, but the arguments which my right hon. Friend has used about other commodities will not apply to wool.

Mr. Prior

I will deal with that later. Wool is not an agricultural product within the common agricultural policy and it is protected by means of the common external tariff. I will later describe the various arrangements to be made which I hope will satisfy my right hon. Friend's agricultural and sheep farming constituents.

As we move from one support system to another, we shall need to make these changes. They are a necessary part of the mechanics of transition and we shall use them in the interests of the progressive development of our farming industry.

It is remarkable that, with all the difficulties we have had over the common agricultural policy and the natural fears of farmers about moving from one system to another, confidence in the industry has been retained. The evidence of that is that production is going up fast and that the farming industry is in a buoyant mood. One sees no indication that what could have been a traumatic experience for the farming industry has come about. In fairness, the majority of farmers understand that it is to their benefit, that for a period the guaranteed prices will be continued whilst we are moving up to market prices. They realise that this gives them the best opportunity they have had for many years to increase production not only for use at home but also for export.

It is a remarkable fact that we have been through all these difficulties in the last 18 months and have retained confidence in the industry. I can give the industry and the Committee the assurance that the Government will do everything in their power, both here and in Brussels, to see that British agriculture can go on moving forward so that changes which have to be made are brought about gradually and sensibly and with full consultation with the industry concerned. I believe that the Committee has had a fair explanation of why we regard the subsection as essential to the Bill, and I hope that the Opposition will not press the Amendment.

Mr. Deakins

I am surprised at the Minister's bland and rather complacent conclusion to this debate. Although it is a somewhat truncated debate since we are anxious to get on to the Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," nevertheless we are in this Amendment dealing with the heart of Clause 6.

The Committee should be under no illusion about this matter. If this subsection is removed we shall be striking a blow against the adoption of the CAP in this country and shall be forcing any future Government—and certainly the present Government, if they last for another two to three years—to ensure that when a commodity is removed from the protection of the 1957 Agriculture Act they will have to come to Parliament for legislation to do so.

I rather feel like asking for a minute's silence in memory of the death of a bipartisan agricultural policy in this country—not the death of a lusty infant, but of a full-grown person who has lasted for 25 or 26 years. This debate, and indeed the whole of today's debate, is a watershed in the history of British agriculture and of British political attitudes to agriculture.

Mr. John E. B. Hill (Norfolk, South)

The hon. Gentleman speaks about being in mourning for a bipartisan agricultural policy. Admittedly whenever it has been bipartisan, this has been much to the benefit of agriculture, but surely he will know, even if he was not then in the House, that such policy ceased to be bipartisan in 1964 and that on earlier occasions the Labour Party vigorously attacked the important changes brought in by the Conservatives, notably in the introduction of the deficiency payments which Labour Members now eulogise.

Mr. Deakins

What I am saying is that this bipartisanship has operated since the war and has given a measure of protection to our agriculture in accordance with the system laid down in the 1947 and 1957 Acts. However, what is now being proposed is a root-and-branch change. This has never been suggested before.

We must remember what the bipartisan policy has achieved. It has given us a prosperous agriculture, with food being sold at a reasonable price to the consumer and at a limited cost to the direct taxpayer. It was not a policy to produce all we could in this country regardless of social cost, for we recognised the need to trade with other countries of the Com- monwealth and particularly our obligations both to Commonwealth countries and to the developing countries of the world. The policy produced tremendous increases in productivity in agriculture, and in my view it has transformed it into one of the biggest and most efficient industries in this country.

That bipartisan policy may not have been perfect, but it will ge generaly agreed that there is no agricultural policy which has existed since the war in any developed country in the world, which has been able as successfully as our agricultural policy to reconcile the interests of the taxpayer, the consumer and the producer.

7.45 p.m.

Mr. Brocklebank-Fowler

I agree with the hon. Gentleman's latter remarks, but would he not agree that what the policy has not done is to ensure that the agricultural worker has had his share of the general increase in prosperity which has taken place throughout the country? One of the great hopes of the future, as we see higher prices, is that agricultural workers will be able at least to share in the increased prosperity which I feel sure will flow from our participation in Europe.

Mr. Deakins

The hon. Gentleman is an optimist and is welcome to his optimism, but there was nothing in the 1947, 1957 or 1967 Agriculture Acts to prevent farmers from doing what more progressive farmers have done—namely, to pay more than the minimum wages of the Agricultural Wages Board. Most progressive farmers already pay well above the odds and there is no reason why the rest should not do so.

The bipartisan policy was decided by direct negotiatiton between producers in this country and the Government. It may be that it was too narrow a basis of consultation, but it was based not on any airy-fairy political thinking as to what should be done for peasants and producers but on rigorous figures involving costs, incomes and profits on farms. I believe that the 1947 and 1957 Acts are wonderful examples of how the Government can intervene in industrial life successfully, both to the benefit of the industry and to the benefit of the national economy as a whole.

What will be the result if Amendment No. 443 is rejected and if we are able to phase out the guaranteed prices for commodities? Producers are not yet aware of what is in store for them. There is a degree of euphoria which I can understand but which is not warranted by the facts of the situation. They are exchanging guaranteed prices for a much greater degree of uncertainty under the CAP where there are much wider fluctuations in end results than are likely to happen, or have happened under the present system. In my opinion this is likely to lead to a slowdown in investment on the livestock side, and in breeding, feeding, housing and management techniques which have led to a great increase in agricultural activity since the war.

Furthermore, labour shortages—which are experienced in this country but which our competitors in the Community do not have—in key sectors of agriculture will undoubtedly mean more competition and a much greater incentive to use more intensive methods of production. Farmers complain that under the present system, which they say acts as a squeeze on their incomes, they are forced to resort to these intensive methods. But under the new system competition will be even greater and they will be forced, much more than in the past, to enter into forms of intensive production which will result in problems of pollution, such as slurry disposal and runoff from inorganic fertilisers, the problem of soil fertility—and the Strutt Report was widely accepted as a warning—and the problems of environmental encroachment, notably by the digging up of hedges and ditches. Farmers may not want to produce these results in terms of pollution, but pressures as a result of the CAP will force them to adopt such production policies to enable them to compete effectively.

Fanners will be faced with problems of competing land use as between land for cereal production, or grassland for beef, or grassland for milk. One cannot do all three things with the same piece of land. The incentive to produce cereals will mean that many farmers will switch to cereals from other crops and from using grassland for milk production.

Then again, the Committee has not discussed fully the effect on individual commodities, and it may not have the opportunity on the Question, That the Clause stand part of the Bill. Everyone in agri- culture knows that cereals and beef will do extremely well. But what about pigs when the Bacon Stabilisation Scheme disappears under the Community regulations? What will be the future of the bacon and the bacon pig industries, which for decades past have been the backbone of our pig industry? What is to happen to the flexible guarantee arrangements? Shall we go back to the days of the notorious pig cycle which operated between the wars? What about the Northern Ireland Pigs Marketing Board, especially its monopoly marketing powers? These are subjects which have been dismissed, and it looks as though this Government intend to take us into the Common Market without dealing with these problems.

On milk, there is the problem of the imbalance between winter and summer milk production and the imbalance between liquid and manufacturing production, simply because there will be a greater incentive to put milk into manufacturing since there will be higher end prices.

Poultry has hardly been mentioned at all. It is not a guaranteed price commodity. However, food costs will rocket. What will be the future of the industry?

The right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Sir Robin Turton) mentioned wool in connection with hill farms. There is no guaranteed price for wool in the Community and there are no special arrangements. What is to be the future of hill farmers in that regard?

Horticulture has been sufficiently debated in the Committee and in the House generally to show that it, too, faces severe problems.

Then there is the point made by both the right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton and the hon. Member for Harborough (Mr. Farr) about the Annual Price Review. There will be no Annual Price Review in the United Kingdom in future. There will continue to be an annual review of conditions and prospects, we are told by the Minister. But surely this represents a severe loss to the United Kingdom agriculture. It is no use saying that we shall have representatives in Brussels. There will be other countries and other interests with representatives in Brussels as well. Let us not forget that there will not be the cosy negotiations which have taken place in this country for the past 20 years. Market management, support buying and subsidised interest rates to agriculture are no substitute for the present system of guaranteed prices, deficiency payments and production and capital grants.

The return to a free market, which has created a great deal of euphoria on the benches opposite and among British farmers, could produce some surprises. A whole generation of farmers has grown up since the 1930s who have no idea what is involved in a free market in agricultural products. They have no experience of its operation, and I believe that they will have a severe shock, especially after the Minister's so-called tidying up operation to remove guaranteed commodities from the protection of the 1957 Act.

What is the effect on the consumer? After all, the right hon. Gentleman is also Minister of Food. We know that food prices will go up and that higher prices will hit pensioners, though they may be taken care of by an annual pensions review. But who is to take care of large families and low income groups, who spend a bigger proportion of their budgets on food? Inevitably, there will be a cut in their living standards. They will have to eat less beef and butter because, under the common agricultural policy, consumer resistance to high prices does not have the normal effect. The commodities which cannot be sold to housewives in the Community are exported at subsidised prices, or stored, or fed to cattle. That is the way that the common agricultural policy works.

Ought not right hon. and hon. Members opposite to consider the logic of a policy whereby the British housewife pays to improve the competitive efficiency of the Continental competitors of our own farmers by means of our contributions to the Community budget? Is it not surprising that our producers, preoccupied with the E1 Dorado that they think is coming, do not see that by its very nature the common agricultural policy must weaken their own competitive position in terms of farm size, mechanisation, and so on? Basically, that is what the Community agricultural budget is about. It is concerned with making Continental agriculture more efficient.

Amendment No. 384 repairs the omission not to have a statutory annual review. Even the annual review that we have been promised is not to be put on a statutory basis. Any future Government could decide to do away with it. We need proper cost and income assessments before our Ministers go to Brussels. What is more, we need firm and agreed prices on the basis of which our Ministers can negotiate in Brussels.

Amendment No. 386 calls for the affirmative procedure when commodities are removed from the protection of the 1957 Act. It is not just a tidying up operation to be dealt with by negative Resolution without any debate. We need as a very minimum the affirmative Resolution procedure. Every time that a commodity is removed a considerable sector of the agricultural industry will be worried and will need to have its worries assuaged and debated in this House before the Measure effecting the removal becomes law.

Amendment No. 387 emphasises that it is the duty of our Minister to fix the level of production and improvement grants in this country. I hope that this is a matter that the Government will be prepared to consider. The law about this should not be laid down in Brussels.

Amendment No. 443 is the crux of the matter. It is the most important. It defends the present guaranteed price system which has been a partnership between the producer and the consumer. We may have needed to do more on the consumer side. Nevertheless it has been a partnership. In the common agricultural policy there is no partnership between producers and consumers. It is a case of the producer first and the consumer nowhere. Are butter prices too high? Someone is bound to say, "Let them eat margarine". Are beef prices too high? Someone is bound to say, "Let them eat poultry". Are bread prices too high? We understand that the three-shilling loaf is coming in the life of this Government. Will it be our Minister who says, "Let them eat cake"?

Are our producers happy at the prospect of what is to come under the common agricultural policy? They are happy because they think that they will be standing on their own feet. In reality, they will be standing on the feet of British housewives. No one has a good word to say for the common agricultural policy. It is a ludicrous policy. It is an ill-conceived policy. It is a policy which has failed to achieve the purposes for which it was designed. In the process it has hurt the housewife and the taxpayer, and it has disrupted international agricultural trade.

For all those reasons, we on this side of the Committee intend to press the Amendment. We hope that the Committee will support us.

Question put, That the Amendment be made:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 262, Noes 275.

Division No. 240.] AYES [8.0 p.m.
Abse, Leo English, Michael Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold
Allen, Scholefield Evans, Fred Lewis, Ron (carlisle)
Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis) Ewing, Henry Lomas, Kenneth
Ashley, Jack Farr, John Loughlin, Charles
Ashton, Joe Faulds, Andrew Lyon, Alexander W. (York)
Atkinson, Norman Fisher,Mrs.Doris(B'ham,Ladywood) Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Fitch, Alan (Wigan) Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston) McBride, Neil
Barnett, Joel (Heywood and Royton) Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) McCartney, Hugh
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood Foley, Maurice McElhone, Frank
Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Foot, Michael McGuire, Michael
Bidwell, Sydney Ford, Ben Mackenzie, Gregor
Biffen, John Forrester, John Mackie, John
Bishop, E. S. Fraser, John (Norwood) Mackintosh, John P.
Blenkinsop, Arthur Freeson, Reginald Maclennan, Robert
Boardman, H. (Leigh) Gilbert, Dr. John McMaster, Stanley
Body, Richard Ginsburg, David (Dewsbury) McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)
Booth, Albert Golding, John McNamara, J. Kevin
Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C. Mahon, Simon (Bootle)
Boyden, James (Bishop Auckland) Gourlay, Harry Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)
Bradley, Tom Grant, George (Morpeth) Marks, Kenneth
Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,W.) Grant, John D. (Islington, E.) Marquand, David
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan) Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside) Marsden, F.
Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury) Griffiths, Will (Exchange) Marshall, Dr. Edmund
Buchan, Norman Hamilton, William (Fife, W.) Marten, Neil
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn) Hamling, William Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill) Mayhew, Christopher
Callaghan. Rt. Hn. James Hardy, Peter Meacher, Michael
Cant, R. B. Harrison, Walter (Wakelield) Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert
Carmichael, Nell Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith Mendelson, John
Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield) Hattersley, Roy Mikardo, Ian
Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles)
Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara Heffer, Eric S. Millan, Bruce
Clark, David (Colne Valley) Hooson, Emlyn Miller, Dr. M. S.
Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.) Horam, John Milne, Edward
Cohen, Stanley Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, Itchen)
Coleman, Donald Howell, Denis (Small Heath)
Concannon, J. D. Huckfield, Leslie Moate, Roger
Conlan, Bernard Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey) Molloy, William
Crawshaw, Richard Hughes, Mark (Durham) Morgan, Elystan (Cardinganshire)
Cronin, John Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.) Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)
Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony Hughes, Roy (Newport) Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)
Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard Hunter, Adam Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon)
Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.) Irvine,Rt.Hn.SirArthur (Edge Hill) Moyle, Roland
Dalyell, Tam Janner, Greville Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Darling, Rt. Hn. George Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas Murray, Ronald King
Davidson, Arthur Jeger, Mrs. Lena Oakes, Gordon
Davies, Denzil (Llanelly) Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) Ogden, Eric
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford) O'Halloran, Michael
Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.) John, Brynmor Oram, Bert
Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove) Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.) Orbach, Maurice
Deakins, Eric Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.) Orme, Stanley
de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey Jones, Barry (Flint, E.) Oswald, Thomas
Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund Jones, Dan (Burnley) Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton)
Dempsey, James Jones,Rt.Hn.Sir Elwyn(W.Ham,S.) Padley, Walter
Doig, Peter Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen) Paget, R. T.
Dormand, J. D. Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.)
Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.) Judd, Frank Palmer, Arthur
Douglas-Mann, Bruce Kaufman, Gerald Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles
Driberg, Tom Kelley, Richard Parker, John (Dagenham)
Duffy, A. E. P. Kerr, Russell Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange)
Dunn, James A. Lambie, David Pavitt, Laurie
Dunnett, Jack Lamond, James Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred
Eadie, Alex Latham, Arthur Pendry, Tom
Edelman, Maurice Leadbitter, Ted Pentland, Norman
Edwards, William (Merioneth) Leonard, Dick Perry, Ernest G.
Ellis, Tom Lestor, Miss Joan Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch
Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg. Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford) Wainwright, Edwin
Prescott, John Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich) Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints)
Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) Sillars, James Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Price, William (Rugby) Silverman, Julius Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek
Probert, Arthur Skinner, Dennis Wallace, George
Rankin, John Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.) Watkins, David
Reed, D. (Sedgefield) Spearing, Nigel Weitzman, David
Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.) Spriggs, Leslie Wellbeloved, James
Rhodes, Geoffrey Stallard, A. W. Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Richard, Ivor Stewart, Donald (Western Isles) Whitehead, Phillip
Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham) Whitlock, William
Roberts, Rt.Hn.Goronwy (Caernarvon) Stoddart, David (Swindon) Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Robertson, John (Paisley) Strang, Gavin Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Roderick, Caerwyn E.(Br'c'n & R'dnor) Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees) Swain, Thomas Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Roper, John Thomas,Rt.Hn.George (Cardiff,W.) Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Rose, Paul B. Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery) Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)
Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock) Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.) Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Rowlands, Edward Tinn, James Woof, Robert
Sandelson, Neville Tomney, Frank
Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne) Torney, Tom TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney) Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir John Mr. Joseph Harper and
Short,Rt.Hn.Edward(N'ctle-u-Tyne) Varley, Eric G. Mr. James Hamilton.
Adley, Robert Dixon, Piers Holt, Miss Mary
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash) Dodds-Parker, Douglas Hordern, Peter
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Drayson, G. B. Hornby, Richard
Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward Hornsby-Smith,Rt.Hn.Dame Patricia
Astor, John Dykes, Hugh Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate)
Awdry, Daniel Eden, Sir John Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.)
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone) Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Hunt, John
Balniel, Rt. Hn. Lord Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Iremonger, T. L.
Batsford, Brian Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,N.) James, David
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Eyre, Reginald Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport) Fenner, Mrs. Peggy Jessel, Toby
Benyon, W. Fidler, Michael Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)
Berry, Hn. Anthony Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead) Johnston, Russell (Inverness)
Biggs-Davison, John Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton) Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)
Blaker, Peter
Boardman, Tom (Leicester. S.W.) Fookes, Miss Janet Jopling, Michael
Boscawen, Hn. Robert Foster, Sir John Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith
Bossom, Sir Clive Fowler, Norman Kaberry, Sir Donald
Bowden, Andrew Fox, Marcus Kellett-Bowman, Mrs. Elaine
Braine Sir Bernard Fry, Peter Kershaw, Anthony
Bray, Ronald Galbraith, Hn. T. G. Kimball, Marcus
Brinton, Sir Tatton Gardner, Edward King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)
Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher Gibson-Watt, David King, Tom (Bridgwater)
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.) Kinsey, J. R.
Bruce-Gardyne, J. Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.) Kirk, Peter
Bryan, Sir Paul Glyn, Dr. Alan Kitson, Timothy
Buchanan-Smith, Alick(Angus,N&M) Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B. Knight, Mrs. Jill
Buck, Antony Goodhart, Philip Knox, David
Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Goodhew, Victor Lambton, Lord
Campbell, Rt. Hn.G.(Moray & Nairn) Gorst, John Lamont, Norman
Carlisle, Mark Gower, Raymond Lane, David
Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.) Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry
Channon, Paul Gray, Hamish Le Marchant, Spencer
Chapman, Sydney Green, Alan Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)
Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher Grieve, Percy Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)
Chichester-Clark, R. Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds) Longden, Sir Gilbert
Churchill, W. S. Grimond, Rt. Hn. J Loveridge, John
Clark, William (Surrey, E.) Grylls, Michael Luce, R. N.
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Gummer, Selwyn MacArthur, Ian
Cockeram, Eric Gurden, Harold McCrindle, R. A.
Cooke, Robert Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley) McLaren, Martin
Coombs, Derek Hall, John (Wycombe) Maclean, Sir Fitzroy
Cooper, A. E. Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Macmillan,Rt.Hn.Maurice (Farnham)
Cordle, John Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) McNair-Wilson, Patrick (NewForest)
Corfield Rt. Hn. Frederick Harrison, Brian (Maldon) Maddan, Martin
Cormack, Patrick Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Madel, David
Costain, A. P. Haselhurst, Alan Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest
Critchley, Julian Havers, Michael Mather, Carol
Crouch, David Hawkins, Paul Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald
Crowder, F. P. Hayhoe, Barney Mawby, Ray
Dalkeith, Earl of Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.
Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford) Hicks, Robert Meyer, Sir Anthony
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Higgins, Terence L. Mills, Peter (Torrington)
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid,Maj.-Gen.James Hiley, Joseph Miscampbell, Norman
Dean, Paul Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.) Mitchell,Lt.-Col.C.(Aberdeenshire,W)
Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. Hill, James (Southampton, Test) Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)
Digby, Simon (Wingfield Holland, Philip Money, Ernle
Monks, Mrs. Connie Rees, Peter (Dover) Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)
Monro, Hector Rees-Davies, W. R. Tebbit, Norman
Montgomery, Fergus Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David Temple, John M.
More, Jasper Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret
Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh) Ridley, Hn. Nicholas Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.)
Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm. Ridsdale, Julian Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon. S.)
Morrison, Charles Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey Tilney, John
Mudd, David Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.) Trafford, Dr. Anthony
Murton, Oscar Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks) Trew, Peter
Neave, Airey Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey) Tugendhat, Christopher
Nicholls, Sir Harmar Rost, Peter van Straubenzee, W. R.
Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael Royle, Anthony Vaughan, Dr. Gerard
Normanton, Tom St. John-Stevas, Norman Vickers, Dame Joan
Nott, John Sandys, Rt. Hn. D. Waddington, David
Onslow, Cranley Scott, Nicholas Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally Sharples, Richard Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)
Osborn, John Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby) Wall, Patrick
Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.) Shelton, William (Clapham) Walters, Dennis
Page, Rt. Hn. Graham (Crosby) Simeons, Charles Ward, Dame Irene
Page, John (Harrow, W.) Sinclair, Sir George Warren, Kenneth
Pardoe, John Skeet, T. H. H. Wells, John (Maidstone)
Parkinson, Cecil Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington) White, Roger (Gravesend)
Peel, John Soref, Harold Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William
Percival, Ian Speed, Keith Wiggin, Jerry
Peyton, Rt. Hn. John Spence, John Wilkinson, John
Pike, Miss Mervyn Sproat, Iain Winterton, Nicholas
Pink, R. Bonner Stainton, Keith Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
Price, David (Eastleigh) Stanbrook, Ivor Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher
Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L. Stewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper) Woodnutt, Mark
Proudfoot, Wilfred Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.) Worsley, Marcus
Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M. Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.
Quennell, Miss J. M. Stokes, John Younger, Hn. George
Raison, Timothy Stuttaford, Dr. Tom
Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James Tapsell, Peter TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne) Mr. Tim Fortescue and
Redmond, Robert Taylor,Edward M.(G'gow.Cathcart) Mr. John Stradling Thomas
Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.) Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)

Question accordingly negatived.

Question proposed, That the Clause stand part of the Bill.

Mr. Peart

We are now at the stage where we can make our comments in a wider sense and discuss the workings of the policy with which we are dealing. We have been specifically discussing Clause 6, which deals with the administration of the common agricultural policy which we shall have to adopt over a period of five years. We have had our arguments on the detailed points. I dealt with the aspects of policy in relation to the Commonwealth, and other hon. Members have raised various matters. I would like to deploy in greater detail some of the arguments used in our previous debates. No doubt other hon. Members will put forward their points of view.

There was initially an argument about whether we had criticised the common agricultural policy during our period of office as a Labour Government. I have a quotation here from which I have read on previous occasions. The then Foreign Secretary, now Lord George-Brown, stated the case at a meeting of Western European Union at The Hague on 4th July, 1967. He later explained this to a conference—I quoted it in the House—when he said: I put the application on the table. It anybody reads it he will see I did in fact reserve all the major issues that the delegates have come to the rostrum to make today. I reserved them specifically for negotiations. I reserved agriculture. I reserved the CAP"— He emphasised this because he said: the common agricultural policy, and the levies. I reserved the sugar producers, specifically and in terms. I reserved these positions for negotiation and I said specifically and in terms that we would decide whether to go on at the end of the day in the light of the negotiations on these issues."—[OFFICIAL REPORT. 22nd October, 1971; Vol. 823, c. 1103.]

Sir F. Maclean

Would the right hon. Gentleman not agree that that was the exact basis on which my right hon. and learned Friend made the application? Would he not further agree that Lord George-Brown has since said that the terms obtained by my right hon. and learned Friend are every bit as good as he could have hoped for?

Mr. Peart

Lord George-Brown may have expressed that opinion but the fact was that we did not negotiate the terms. I am merely quoting what was our position, what was stated by Lord George-Brown when he was Foreign Secretary A lot of people give the impression that we did not reserve our position. I have always been sceptical about the common agricultural policy. I recognise that there has been an argument to the effect that if we go into the Community we must inevitably concede in agriculture to get certain industrial benefits. I have never liked that point, obviously, as an agricultural Minister, but I recognise that it has been put.

Mr. Powell

Is it not a material fact that right hon. Members opposite in their White Paper of February, 1970, when discussing the effect on the balance of payments of the common agricultural policy said, There is just not a sufficient basis, in advance of negotiations, for making reliable assumptions about either its cost or our share of it. Would the right hon. Gentleman not agree that that shows that the position was still reserved in February, 1970?

Mr. Peart

I accept that. We may argue about estimates in different white Papers. I was responsible for the first agricultural White Paper and I remember presenting it to the House. I tried to explain objectively the case of the Government and the impact that our entry to the Community would have on the consumer and on the balance of payments position. It is still true today to say that it will have a considerable effect. This is one of the arguments I am using.

8.15 p.m.

It has been estimated in the present White Paper that the effect on the balance of payments will be approximately £250 million a year. Some people argue with great force that it will be much higher, and I think they are right. I could not commit myself to a specific figure; that is always dangerous, particularly when discussing commodities such as food and agricultural products in a broad sense. I have always been rather careful about making specific estimates, but there were broad estimates, and I agree that these were in the White Paper.

Mr. Rippon

Could I put it to the right hon. Gentleman that the intervention of my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) shows the contrary to what he asserted? Does it not show that the Labour Government had in effect said "We must come to terms with the common agricultural policy", and that all that was at issue was what the estimate of cost might be, which we have all agreed is difficult to make?

Mr. Peart

I cannot accept that. The right hon. and learned Gentleman has not really followed our discussions or has not read the White Paper. I am sure that he is completely wrong. I take the viewpoint of the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell). We are arguing today about a policy which some people say we must adopt even though they dislike it. They argue that this was because we would have advantages in other economic areas. I have heard that so often. It is said that we shall be able to challenge, for example, the European motor car industry, we shall win markets in Europe or our future will be waltzing down an autobahn selling refrigerators.

I may be wrong about this but I still believe that it is accepted by many people who favour entry that there are difficulties with agriculture. Even those who are fanatically in support of European entry must know that inevitably there will be burdens on the consumer. This is spelled out in the White Paper.

Mr. James Dempsey (Coatbridge and Airdrie)

Is my right hon. Friend aware that last week, in reply to a Question tabled by me dealing with the rise in the price of many of our indispensable basic foodstuffs between 1970 and April of this year, I was told that they had already doubled in price, thus paving the way for our entry into the high-price Common Market?

Mr. Peart

I accept that. The White Paper, at paragraph 88 says: It is estimated that membership will affect food prices gradually over a period of six years with an increase of about 2½ per cent. each year in retail prices. This figure has been altered in view of later developments. I believe that the Minister gave another figure. As the White Paper says: As food accounts for about a quarter of total consumer expenditure, the effect on the cost of living would be about ½per cent. each year.…It will vary from commodity to commodity. Some, such as butter, cheese and beef, are likely to rise by significantly more than the average; others, such as bread, flour and eggs, by about the average; and others, such as milk, fish, oils and fats, tea and coffee should show little change in price. For some fruit and vegetables prices should be lower at certain times of the year. Moreover, the increase in food prices will be offset to some extent by lower prices for other consumer goods as a result of tariff reductions. The simple fact is that there will be a burden on the consumer. This was admitted because the Government say that they will protect the lower income groups, the pensioners, with social security income adjustments. We have never had specific details about how they will do that or how they will differentiate between different sections. But there will be a heavy burden on the consumer. Even though hon. Members may support entry into Europe, that must be admitted. One has only to compare an average shopping basket. One of our leading Sunday newspapers did that last week. It was very effective propaganda from a newspaper which is not sympathetic to our point of view. But it showed our system in a favourable light. It showed that the British housewife, the housewife in London, has better food prices. She has access to better food, in general, than many housewives in Europe and the rest of the world.

I am not ashamed to defend the system with which I was proud to be associated in the post-war period as a very humble Parliamentary Private Secretary to Tom Williams, who was a great Minister of Agriculture. Since then that system has enabled us to give assured markets and guaranteed prices to farmers. That system was built on by a Conservative Administration, as I have argued earlier. The deficiency payments system was introduced. We had also a structural scheme in this country which was second to none. I refer to the partnership between the Government and industry, something that is unique in the agricultural world.

This now is to go. But hon. Members must remember that while this Bill is going through Parliament another Bill has yet to come before the House of Commons on Report. Some of my hon. Friends, especially my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, East (Mr. Strang), who is a member of the Committee dealing with that Bill, know that we shall scrutinise it because it is pre- paring the way for entry into Europe. We have seen how the county agricultural executive system which flowed from the 1947 Act is to be dismantled. That was a system whereby we had farmers' representatives sitting on county committees, three from the National Farmers Union, two from the agricultural workers union and two from the Country Landowners Association. It enabled the farming community to have something unique. The 1947 Act meant assured markets and guaranteed prices. It enabled our farming community to do something it had never done before: to undertake a period of long-term planning and development. Whatever the arguments about different price review awards, this was admired by many farming and political leaders in other parts of the world.

Mr. James Johnson (Kingston upon Hull, West)

Is it not a fact that even Dr. Mansholt has shown admiration for this system? I have heard him speaking at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg when he has said that this would be a good thing to work towards inside the Community.

Mr. Peart

My hon. Friend is right. I have quotations dealing with Dr. Mansholt's views. Dr. Mansholt used to be the Commissioner for Agriculture but now has a higher job in the Community. He has always said this. I have here an old cutting which I have quoted previously. It is a cutting from The Times of 27th March, 1971: Dr. Sicco Mansholt, vice-President in charge of agriculture…said today that from 1973 the Six might have to introduce a system of aid to farmers involving direct grants and something similar to Britain's current system of deficiency payments if they wished to provide the farming community with a reasonable living. The report continues: Dr. Mansholt told a press conference that it would be unreasonable to expect Britain to accept further price rises—of the sort agreed yesterday by the Common Market ministers in an attempt to help their farmers—during the time Britain was trying to adjust to the much higher Community price levels. Because of this the EEC could not go on relying on prices alone to guarantee farmers' incomes.

Mr. Russell Johnston (Inverness)

Surely that demonstrates a will and desire on the part of the Community to change.

Mr. Peart

It shows that there is a desire on the part of farming leaders in Europe to change to our system. As I have always argued, will not it be ironical that we shall destroy a system which has worked in order to adopt a system which is not working in Europe and then probably, later, because of men like Dr. Mansholt, adopt a system we have destroyed? What a strange irony of history it is that this could well happen. However, that is the argument.

I am suggesting that the common agricultural policy imposes burdens on the consumer. No one will deny that. I believe also that even from the point of view of the producer there will be uncertainty. My hon. Friend the Member for Walthamstow, West (Mr. Deakins), in an earlier debate, spelt out in detail some of the commodities which will be affected. For example, what will happen to the bacon sharing agreement and to some of the monopoly powers of some of our statutory boards? There is still uncertainty about the Milk Marketing Board's position. I give those as examples. Again, we never seem to hear much about horticulture in Parliament. This section of the industry accounts for a fifth of agricultural products. Many horticulturists are very worried about our entry into the Community, for obvious reasons. I need not spell out the details because they are known to the Government, who have received representations on this matter over the years.

In many activities we see uncertainty. I have here what has become a classical editorial in the Farmers Weekly. This one was published last year. The Farmers Weekly could not be regarded as a defender of the Labour Party or the Labour Opposition, or to have any pretentions to Socialist theory or dogma. The editorial of 22nd October, 1971, just before the main debate about joining the Community, the debate on the principle, is entitled, "Who's fooling whom?" The editorial states: Our interview with Dr. Mansholt makes it plain that the Government have been less than frank with the farming community on crucial issues. Despite soothing but largely meaningless words, no decisions have been taken on the future of the Milk Board. The editorial continues: It is now obvious that the Europeans have not even begun to consider the matter. The editorial argues: Where are the concrete provisions for maintaining stability of British farm commodity markets during the transition period? The article mentions the bacon industry and the price review, which we have discussed in greater detail on an Amendment.

The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy was very kind when he wrote to me on this matter after I questioned him, but I still do not think that he understands the difference between the sort of arrangement in the Treaty of Accession, which I quoted in a previous debate, and the price review procedure under our system. It is a different thing altogether. After all, the prices will be determined in Brussels. The new Intervention Board will have to carry out this policy. That is why the Board has been created—this new State Department announced by the Minister, at a stroke. It will be interesting to read about it and to probe what it means in terms of manpower. I have just been reading that the Commission will have fewer civil servants and that some of them will make way for ours. What will happen to the Intervention Board? What about staffing and public expenditure—the favourite cry of some hon. Members? What about the civil servants?

I remember getting into trouble from one hon. Member because I dared to say that civil servants in Brussels were running around like cockroaches. What about the saving here, and the dangers of a bureaucracy and the failure to have a check? These are important matters. I say to members of the farming community, "The consumer will be affected; but, make no mistake, you could be affected, too." After all, people are eating less. The recent national food survey shows that that is so. Many of the low income group are now buying less food and cheaper food, mince instead of other products. No doubt the Minister will be called the Minister for Mince. I am not denying that it is good meat, but mince is being bought instead of good red meat. There has undoubtedly been a saving.

The Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mr. Anthony Stodart)


Mr. Peart

We shall deal with this matter on food prices on Monday, so I will wait for that and deploy the argument in another way. I do not want to go beyond "Clause stand part". I am merely arguing about the policy of the Government, and saying that if there is consumer resistance inevitably the farmer will be affected. Recently when the Government made a decision about liquid milk for schoolchildren many National Farmers Union branches made their protests because in the end it would affect production.


8.30 p.m.

I say to the farming community what I said on the last Amendment. The Community supporters in the House may dangle before the eyes of the producers the promised land and higher prices, but there will be higher feed costs, there will be pressures here and there, and, as I have recently said, I see no enthusiasm from the Community producers who produce the commodities which the European Community needs.

There has been no enthusiasm from the producers. In fact, over a period of years we have seen violent protests. My goodness, the row that I had over my first Price Review was nothing like that which we have seen emerging from Brussels, when the farmers marched their cows into the debating chamber and demonstrated. I warn hon. Members not to assume that they will have an easy ride with the farming community because they think this is the promised land and because the Prime Minister is so dedicated to Europe and all that it means.

Mr. John E. B. Hill

The right hon. Gentleman was painting a picture of European farmers in wild rebellion to make us terrified. The fact remains that they were pressing for even higher prices because their own scale of business is usually so much smaller. The prices they were protesting against were considerably higher than ours, and perfectly satisfactory to our industry.

Mr. Peart

Prices are relative, and they had relatively higher costs and were facing great difficulties and hardship. Many of them were impoverished. There is a terrible amount of peasant farming in operation. The hon. Member for Norfolk, South (Mr. John E. B. Hill) knows that.

If we adopt the Clause, which gives effect to the common agricultural policy, there will be the difficulties and uncertainties which have been stressed. Above all, the system, as I have argued, needs changing. I have quoted Dr. Mansholt, who is still connected with the Commission, for whom I have a great admiration. I have met him on many occasions. I refer now to his successor, who was here a few days ago, Signor Scarascia-Mugnozza—[Laughter.] That is my army training in Italy. Anyway, Signor Scarascia-Mugnozza, the member of the European Commission responsible for agriculture, predicted a gradual revision in the EEC's agricultural policy in Brussels. He believed that the old emphasis on high prices as the principal means of supporting farmers would give way to a greater emphasis on structural reforms.

He went on to pay tribute to what could emerge. In other words, he believed that there should be a change. I think that is accepted. Why, even The Times, not very long ago, argued that we should be able to negotiate the Common Market agricultural policy and no longer should the Economic Community regard it as non-negotiable. We know the reason why the French will not allow it to be otherwise. I think most hon. Members are aware of that. However, we agree that inevitably it should be negotiable. Even some of my hon. Friends who believe in Europe accept that. I have on many occasions quoted my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Stechford (Mr. Roy Jenkins). In an address organised by the Labour Committee for Europe my right hon. Friend said: The Community has undoubtedly one ugly aspect to its face, the working of some aspects of the Common Agricultural Policy. They certainly should not be proud of this—indeed, a bit of plastic surgery would not come amiss. I agree with those very eloquent words. So we can and do argue that this policy has not worked and will have to be adapted.

I believe the real reason why the negotiations have not gone our way is that France has won. There is an obvious reason. This was confirmed by our ambassador in Paris, Sir Christopher Soames, in an article in Figaro, which has often been quoted, in which he said: Don't forget, it is not just a question of the amount we"— the British— pay to the common budget. From the first day, we shall also be buying more and more of our food from you at very much higher prices than we now pay, thus enabling your farmers to realise the promise of expansion by virtue of their preferential access to the biggest food importing market in the world. How right Sir Christopher Soames was, and how right M. Pompidou was to accept his words. That is why the French believe in the CAP and will not allow us to compromise on it. Even though the German Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Ertl, has again and again criticised the Community's policy, even though the Germans have been lukewarm from the viewpoint of their Minister of Agriculture, this Government have allowed France to dominate the negotiations, and as a result France would not agree to a renegotiation of this section.

Mr. Marten

We all agree that this must be renegotiated. Would not one way to overcome this aspect be for the Government, as they go to the Summit, to say "We will not have Third Reading of the Bill until after the Summit and unless we get a satisfactory renegotiation of the CAP"? If they did that, I believe the country would have great confidence that the Government were standing up for Britain and for sensible policies.

Mr. Peart

I agree with the hon. Gentleman on that sound point. I am sure that it would be endorsed by the majority of the British people. I hope this can be pressed upon the Government even now, despite the fact they are assuming there will be no Report stage and are trying to steamroller the Bill through the House of Commons. I hope the Government really will have second thoughts and not be too arrogant on this matter. There are many people still to be converted to their view. I do not believe that the vast majority of the British people accept entry into the Community on the terms negotiated.

There is another aspect of the policy which I believe to be fundamental. I hinted at this earlier on Amendment No. 263. I refer to the effect on world trade. The Community has a managed market, a tariff wall, and a levy system. I cannot understand why the Liberals are enamoured with the system. However, they can explain their own position. They are divided on this matter, as are the other parties. However, I cannot understand why, because of their traditional liberal approach, they should believe in the managed market and tariff wall which exist in the Community.

I said that the CAP is a dagger at the heart of the Commonwealth. I really mean that. This is a tragedy because I believe in the British Commonwealth. It has so much to offer to the world—the concept of a multi-racial community, the old and the new Commonwealth—and I want it to be strengthened. However, if we give preferential treatment to other countries, as we must if we join the Community, they will have preference and we shall have to differentiate against our traditional food suppliers. This policy—this is not propaganda; it is the choice that hon. Members have to make—will inevitably harm our traditional food suppliers, the Commonwealth. It will harm New Zealand in particular.

I had hoped that we could debate an Amendment dealing with New Zealand's position, but it was not selected. I should like to deploy at greater length on that Amendment the case for New Zealand, as I should like to have done for our fisheries. Spelled out in the Government's White Paper is the effect that the Community will have on New Zealand products. The quantities for New Zealand products are set out in Protocol 18 of the Treaty of Accession, Part I. I will give those for butter for the first five years. The quantities will show a decline. In 1973 the quantity will be 165,811 metric tons; in 1974 it will be 158,902; in 1975 it will be 151,994; in 1976 it will be 145,805; and in 1977 it will be 138,176. I shall not read out all the quantities for cheese but a considerable decline takes place there as well—from 68,558 metric tons in 1973 to 15,240 metric tons in 1977.

Some people may say that this is only cheese and butter. But cheese and butter exports are important to New Zealand. Over the years the New Zealanders have geared their production to our market. As Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food I took part in discussions with the New Zealand Government on trade. I have always been proud that British farmers recognise the place of New Zealand in our market. In addressing meetings of the National Farmers Union, I have never found any difficulty when I have explained to it the position of our producer friends in New Zealand. Yet New Zealand's products are to be phased down. There is no argument about it. It is all spelled out. That is why they are worried.

We are told that the answer is for New Zealand to diversify its products and markets. That is not easy to do. The New Zealanders have been trying to do it ever since they realised that the time might come when Britain would enter the EEC and the old traditional links would be ended. It is true that the New Zealand Government have accepted the situation, but they have no choice. They are not pleased about it. One only has to read the New Zealand Press to see that the people of New Zealand are not pleased about the agreement. How could they be? Their products are to be phased down, and inevitably there is uncertainty for their primary producers. They are worried and concerned. I have met many New Zealanders. I have been there as Minister. Every hon. Member who knows New Zealand must accept that the New Zealanders are very worried. In March Sir Denis Blundell said that if New Zealand lamb became subject to the common agricultural policy there would be a dramatic fall in demand and a substantial increase in price. No wonder the New Zealanders are worried.

Those who condemn New Zealand for some of its actions should study the position and the danger to its economy. I repeat that I will defend New Zealand. I believe that the British people do not want to let the New Zealanders down because the New Zealanders are British people in the best sense. They have always supported us, both in peace and in war, and we should not let them down. But if we accept the common agricultural policy we shall inevitably be doing so.

I have with me the New Zealand News, a very good little paper which informs British people about New Zealand affairs. In what other newspaper in the world do we find a whole page designed to show the need for the British connection, telling us how New Zealand importers want British goods? Let us not forget that New Zealanders are our people. But we are not going to give preference in the Community to their products. Instead, we are to give it to French producers who will be given concessions as against our traditional suppliers from New Zealand.

The same situation applies to Australia. I remind the Committee that Australia takes more goods from us than we take from Australia.

The Deputy Prime Minister of Australia visited this country last year. He said: The White Paper makes no acknowledgment whatever of the difficulties that will be caused for important sectors of Australian agriculture. According to the Financial Times of 1st July, 1971, the Prime Minister of Australia, Mr. William McMahon, said: …that it was a matter for regret that Britain had not pressed Australia's case with the EEC to an outcome satisfactory to Australia. I will deal with this matter in more detail next week when we discuss the question of sugar. What is proposed will harm New Zealand and Australia.

8.45 p.m.

Mr. Rippon

The right hon. Gentleman might do great harm to people in Australia and New Zealand by making these wild allegations about the arrangements we have made. The arrangements for New Zealand, which are expressed in terms of milk equivalent and have built-in arrangements for continuity, represent, as the New Zealand people and farmers have accepted, the most remarkable trading agreement which any third country has received. The right hon. Gentleman has quoted from the New Zealand News, which is an excellent publication. I will send him a copy of the New Zealand News containing a cartoon showing a shivering lion on the brink of the Channel with the caption "Will Britain have the courage to jump?". New Zealand and Australia accept that what is proposed is good for Britain, good for the Commonwealth and good for Europe.

Mr. Peart

The right hon. and learned Gentleman does not meet the New Zealand and Australian people whom I meet. He is sheltered in an official cocoon, otherwise he would not say such things. If we phase out people's commodities, do not tell me that they are pleased. They are not political masochists. If we phase out some of their products and they lose markets they are bound to be angry. Small countries like New Zealand cannot afford to lose markets for their dairy products.

If we go into the Common Market we shall give preference to French and German producers as against our traditional suppliers. That is the purpose of entry to the Community. That explains the Europeanism of some people. The right hon. and learned Gentleman should defend it. That is the Government's policy, and he must face the consequences. I could argue about what will happen to the Caribbean, but we shall deal with that subject on another occasion. The right hon. and learned Gentleman has negotiated nothing in respect of sugar. The rich sugar beet producers of France and Germany will probably force their viewpoint on the negotiators. The Caribbean and many other parts of the Commonwealth are worried. India has expressed concern. There are dangers in the common agricultural policy.

I should have liked to deal with the subject of fisheries, but I will leave my hon. Friends to deploy that argument in detail.

The common agricultural policy means restrictionism. It has been condemned by the United States and by other countries outside the British Commonwealth, President Nixon, Senator Humphrey, the former Vice-President, and distinguished United States civil servants have argued against the restrictionist policies of the Community. Of course they are restrictionist. They are very selfish. That is why the Community has not signed the International Sugar Agreement. We all know that Britain is to join a selfish, restrictionist Community. But hon. Members says "We shall be in a position to change it". I very much doubt it, because there is a great danger that we are going in on terms accepted by France, which has played a major part in the negotiations.

That may well be true of fisheries policy. The Community, with indecent haste, laid down a common policy just before we negotiated. I still believe that we have not negotiated satisfactorily and that many sections of the inshore fishing industry will be endangered by what we have done. There is great concern about this among large sections of the inshore fishermen.

For these reasons, the Clause should be opposed. In the end it will not be good for Britain. The CAP is a policy which is retrogressive, reactionary, harmful in the long run to the Community, harmful to world trade and harmful to the British people, and it will create uncertainty for the producer.

Mr. Hugh Fraser

I want now to make a more general intervention on the whole issue of the CAP. I believe that the CAP is dangerous for three reasons. First, it will lead inevitably to the creation of trading blocs; and, by the creation of trading blocs, it will be deleterious to our objective of world free trade which must be to the interests of Britain. Second, it will push up prices for the British consumer in an alarming fashion. Third, those who say that by getting into the Community they can change the CAP will be attempting to change something which is in Europe's best interests but not in ours. This is why there are many people in Europe who regard our entry into Europe as a positive danger, because we propose to impose on Europe policies which are not suitable to Europe's own best interests.

There is no question but that what is needed more than the Pompidou summit, which may or may not take place, dependent on French good will—it seems from what the French Deputy Foreign Minister has said that, unless the conference is arranged to the French pattern, it will not take place—is for the British Prime Minister to take the initiative and to call a conference of the world temperate food producers. It is in temperate foodstuffs that the trouble lies. Such a conference would be far more constructive than to go and lie down before this great new altar in France and to say," We will come in on any terms". It we want an initiative, this is a very useful one to take.

There is no question but that the world is highly disturbed in its trading relations. It is very worried about the creation of trading blocs. It is appallingly worried, as it should be, by the fact that the whole of what is called the Third World is still selling its products to the industrial world at the same price as 10 years ago; yet the Third World is trying to import from the industrial world tractors, and so forth, which now cost three times as much. This is the true world issue.

It is not a case of just grovelling before Pompidou in Paris on 8th October. It is the issue of real world problems. There should be a conference of the temperate food producers of the world to work out a proper programme and the acceptance of various international agreements for commodities.

My second point relates to the question of the British consumer. I remind the Conservative Party that before now it has been divided, and disastrously divided, on the issue of cheap food for the people. The party was split and divided and destroyed for 20 years on this issue until it was resurrected by Disraeli. Certain members of my party could remember that episode with benefit. I shall remind the Committee of some of the price rises that we can expect in the Common Market. In a previous speech I referred to maize, which is essential for feeding stocks and for expanding beef production in this country. The world price of maize today is £22 a ton. Yet the Common Market price is over £40 a ton and this year it has already been agreed, although world maize prices are falling, that the European price shall rise by 3.2 per cent. over the next 12 months.

There is the example of beef and the recent bull raid into our beef market when there was a shortage of European beef. Because of the policies admitted to being pursued by CAP officials we know that there will be a mounting shortage of beef. And yet there will be a growing mountain of unsaleable butter such is the agronomical genius of those who are directing the policy. Next spring, for all we know, there will be a further raid into our beef market and beef prices, for a short time, will be hitting not the sort of price which is in the Price Review, but the sort of price which has existed in West Germany lately—£22 per cwt. For every penny a pound for meat on the hook the price goes up by 3p to the consumer, because that is how the good God has made the cattle beast.

The price of wheat is some £12 more in Europe than the world price and the support price for barley is higher, too. We are told that these figures must be adjusted over the five-year period so that there will be no increase greater than 2 per cent. in the price of food to the British public. As we used to say in the Army, the Minister's oxometer must be recalibrated. There is a shortage of certain foods in Europe. Tinned fruit is not a major item in this country but for many it is a luxury on a Sunday. I remember when I was a kid at school that tinned fruit was a great luxury. We imported it from Italy or Australia. I am told by the Australians that under the CAP the price of their tinned fruit, which is roughly competitive with that of Italy at the moment, will rise by 40 per cent. Let us tell that to our constituents. They will enjoy hearing it. Even more they will be glad to hear that Italian fruit production is insufficient to fill the gap when the Australian supply ceases.

There is also the question of long-term contracts. Many countries which would have been prepared to enter into long-term contracts for meat are not now prepared to do so. The right hon. Gentleman mentioned Australia and New Zealand. I can think of other areas of the world where meat production could be developed, such as East Africa. I have seen in Ethiopia better cattle land than the Argentine. Are the Ethiopians going to make contracts with us? There is not a chance of it. Think of the potential growth in Australian production. The Australians are now committed to raise 250,000 more tons of meat in the next three or four years. Will any of it come here? No. Will the Argentinians create factories for boning meat on long-term contract to this country? Again, the answer is "No". Therefore, the CAP is a high burden to place on a people already bedevilled by inflation.

9.0 p.m.

Mr. Ralph Howell (Norfolk, North)


Mr. Fraser

"Boloney" is a good Italian word. Perhaps my hon. Friend should be representing the Italians rather than the British people.

Finally, I turn to the far wider problem, the most important problem to do with the CAP and ourselves. The whole of the European economy, the whole of European social life, has been built essentially on the avoidance of major urbanisation. That was the view of General de Gaulle and other people whose views I respect more than those of some hon. Members. General de Gaulle and others in Europe, including Bismarck and all the great men of Europe, believed that Europe's strength lay essentially in its rural rather than its urban communities. That is not unnatural. We in this country have evolved over hundreds of years without revolution. We have been blessed by the fact that we have had a House of Commons which has defeated the barons and the kings, and even the Socialist Party—[Interruption.]—and the Tories for that matter, and has survived.

But in Europe there has been a sense of danger, of constant movements of troops. There have been wars, including civil wars, and far greater instabilities than we have ever known.—[Interruption.]—Some of my hon. Friends think that this is funny. They have not read their history and do not understand what Europe is about.

Europe is built on decent, rural, peasant society. That is why Europe is strong. Go into any European village and we see the marks of those who have died in war, whatever war it be—and there have been plenty of wars in Europe, far more than we have ever had. That is the basis of European society. I talked before of what Hitler did. The size of the average holding in Germany is 26 acres because the Hitlerian régime saw the need to build up a solid, protective, decent, small, rural, peasant community. From those people came the army, the police, those who preserve order. It is from them that Europe has drawn its strength for the maintenance of the State.

We have had none of these troubles. If we think we can influence Europe to change the whole of its domestic and social policy, to do away with its peasant communities, we should ask Mr. Franz Josef Strauss in Bavaria whether he is prepared to see the peasant disappear, and ask M. Pompidou after his election, which was fought precisely on that issue, whether agricultural reform has gone far enough. Of course, there were areas in the Vosges and are areas in the Midi where a man cannot get a living and of course bigger farms would be made there. But this is the basis of the major European countries—the basis of a strong peasantry with the support of the State.

Put it the other way. Supposing that there were to be the same ratio of manpower per acre on the Continent as there is in this country. In Italy, there would be 3 million more unemployed. Today, let us face it—I ask my clever hon. Friends who know so much about it to realise this—the whole problem of Western technocracy is that the number of jobs is falling. It will not be easy to find jobs for men put off the land. We do not find it easy to get jobs for men here who are put out of work by Government policy—whether by this party or by the Labour Party.

What about jobs in Europe? What about a reform in Germany to bring about the same sort of agricultural relationship as we have here? There would be one and a half million more jobs to find. These are the facts that we must face. To imagine that we can change these policies is to imagine that we can barge into Europe and upset the Europeans who are set in their own ways.

This is why I feel compelled tonight to oppose this Clause—because CAP is against the world interests of free trade, because it is against the interests of the consumer and because it is against the main interests of Europe.

Mr. Kevin McNamara (Kingston upon Hull, North)

While I agree with the conclusions of the historical survey of the right hon. Member for Stafford and Stone (Mr. Hugh Fraser), I would challenge some of the details if time allowed. But I want to deal briefly with the subject of the small communities, sometimes in large cities and sometimes in the villages around our coast, who face a threat to their future as a result of the policies with regard to food and particularly fisheries which are being adopted by the Government in this disastrous plea to get into Europe. I want to deal first with the agreement over inshore fishing limits and then with the general question of the future of the deep-sea fleet.

To a great sound of trumpets, an agreement was announced to protect the rights of our inshore fleet for 10 years, up to 1982. Before that date, we were told, we should have a fresh look at the whole problem and come to some more suitably planned system to protect our inshore fishermen. This is what the Government tried to sell the country and the fishermen, but it is a quite incorrect interpretation of what they achieved.

As my right hon. Friend the Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore) pointed out when the agreement was first announced, it was nothing more than a derogation from our existing system and after the 10-year period, if there were no agreement, we should return not to the status quo which existed here before we joined the Market but to the status quo in the Market as it was and therefore we should have them fishing up to our beaches. This is a problem for the communities around our coasts, which depend on fishing—particularly the scattered and more remote communities.

The Government argue, "When the time comes for renegotiation, we shall have a veto." But what shall we have a veto over? Have we got a veto? What is the power behind it? What is it designed to prevent? Shall we say, "This veto is to maintain this derogation that we have. No matter what anyone says, we will maintain the present situation."? Or is it a veto to say that we shall return to the system which operated before we acceded? Or is it merely a veto as a bargaining counter? Because the interests of the inshore fishermen are not a great and important matter in our economy, will they be sold and bartered and changed? Are they something that the Government will be prepared to sacrifice? The basic suspicion and fear behind the derogation is that there is no protection for the inshore fishing communities and for the many isolated communities around our islands.

In terms of investing in small vessels, people will have to look within a span of five to 10 years. If we go into the Common Market and accept this derogation, within a few years all the fears and suspicions will mount and people will be afraid to invest because they will not know what will happen at the end of that period. They will not know where they stand.

The Government have tried to be clever and have said that they will stop foreigners fishing in our waters, not by imposing a limit but by imposing a ban on certain types of gear, certain types of net and certain ways of fishing. Is there a Frenchman, a German or a Dutchman so stupid that once that ban has been imposed he will not adapt his fishing methods so that he can fish in those same grounds? The idea that merely imposing a ban on certain gear will protect sections of the coast for our own fishermen is ludicrous.

The report of the Yorkshire and Humberside Economic Planning Council says that the prospects for the industry are reasonable and that there is not a great deal to worry about, but it points a finger at the big question mark hanging over the future of the inshore fleet, the middle water fleet and the deep water fleet on two matters. The first is the desire and application of Iceland to have a 50-mile limit and the second is the effect that this could have upon Norway and Denmark, Norway in particular.

If the Icelanders get their way, whether by recognition of the limits, by recognition of the limitation on catches or by a patchwork quilt arrangement between 12 and 50 mile limits, whatever they get is bound to affect the reaction of the Norwegian Government. Norway is a fellow applicant, and the Norwegian Minister of Fisheries resigned over the fisheries agreement. Nearly 30 per cent. of the population of Norway is dependent on fishing. It is a country where the influence of the fishing community is still strong and powerful, although the number of people involved in the industry has been falling.

If the Icelandic demand is successful, what will the Norwegian fishermen say? They will want to know why they are going into a Community that offers them far less than their own Government have been able to achieve, and the result of a referendum in that country would become very doubtful. The effect that this would have on our own standing within the Common Market and upon the position of our own fishing fleet as Norway pushed out its boundaries would be equally great.

It is wrong for people to take an over-optimistic, unrealistic attitude to the future for our industry. As the boundaries of fishing limits spread outwards from the various countries, the areas to which the big ships go will be either further a field or nearer in. As they come in, so they drive in the middle water vessels which in turn drive in the inshore vessels. The whole of this terrible nationalism about limits, whether they are imposed by an Icelandic agreement or by a Community agreement, can have the effect only of cutting back and limiting our own fishing industry. People will say, "Look how well you are doing at the moment; look at the profit return on the vessels and the record sums that are being brought in on each trip." But these record sums are being brought in against a background of falling catches and failure to get proper international agreement on conservation of stock.

The overall effect of what is happening under the fishing agreement is that the deep-sea industry cannot make any real guess as to what will be the effect of entry into the Common Market, but there are signs of foreboding. Furthermore, in the inshore industry, because of the threats it faces due to the spreading of limits and with the need to take decisions in the period while the derogation exists, there can be only fear and worry.

Although this is not the major item in any discussion of food policy in our community, on our island for many of our small communities who live in remote areas, scattered islands, and for parts of communities in large cities which earn their living from the sea, the whole of the policy which is being adopted by the Government could be and will be disastrous.

9.15 p.m.

Sir F. Maclean

I hope the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, North (Mr. McNamara) will forgive me for not following him on his interesting and well-reasoned fishing expedition. Instead, I shall try to bring the debate back to pure agriculture.

Listening to the speeches of some hon. Members, one would really think that for the last 25 years the British farmer had not had a worry in the world; that, to use a famous phrase, he had been feather-bedded against all the stresses and strains of modern life. But in fact this is not so. For years, under successive Governments, farmers have not been getting a fair return for the work they do, for the investment they make or in respect of their ever-increasing productivity; and it must be stressed that productivity in agriculture has been increased more than that of almost any other.

The right hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Peart) appeared to be particularly attached to the old Annual Price Review and to regard it as the be all and end all of everything and the answer to all our problems. I have nothing against the Annual Price Review, I do not think it is a bad thing, but from the farmer's point of view, it certainly has not proved to be 100 per cent. efficient over the last 25 years. Indeed, the right hon. Gentleman himself recalled the appalling row he had with the farmers over his own first Price Review, and I am sure my right hon. Friend would sympathise with him, though he on the whole has had a smoother passage. Indeed, most Ministers of Agriculture have had rough times with the NFU—and that is not because the NFU are a particularly unreasonable body of men. Indeed, I should have thought they were more reasonable than most people.

Agricultural wages, compared with other wages, are very low, but those wages and other costs take enough of a farmer's profits to leave him with little over to live on. To take one example, between 1960 and 1970 lamb prices hardly moved at all—indeed, over the ten years they may even have moved slightly down. On the other hand, we all know what happened to other prices during those 10 years—and I have taken 10 years which were divided more or less equally between the two parties in Government. Agricultural wages, though still too low, the costs of fuel, feeding stuffs, commodities like tractors and motor cars, the price of land, and the cost of living all went shooting up.

Consider the case of a small hill farmer, whether a tenant farmer or one who has managed to buy an extremely expensive farm, probably working on his own or possibly employing one man. In the years since the war, whatever the Price Review, there will have been many years when he will have been lucky to earn a farm labourer's wage at the end of the day, and he will have had risks to take that a farm labourer would not have had for his £20 a week or whatever it may have been, notably the risk of earning nothing at all.

I feel sure that the overwhelming majority of British farmers—including hill farmers, of whom I am one—have been right after a lot of careful consideration to come down in favour of entry. In my view they are right to believe that British agriculture is bound to benefit from the bigger market that it will have in Europe, and I am certain that the NFU is right to estimate an expansion of output worth £400 million.

That will help everyone. A more prosperous farming community will be able to pay higher wages, and by expanding production and producing more home grown food will also be able to make an even bigger contribution than it does at present to the balance of payments about which right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite are always going on—

Mr. Ron Lewis (Carlisle)

What about prices?

Mr. Elystan Morgan (Cardigan)

Will the hon. Gentleman consider the point that 60 per cent. of the net income earned by hill farmers is represented by grants and subsidies, and that up to the moment the Minister has not seen fit to give specific assurances about the future of those grants and subsidies, representing, as they do, more than half the net income of hill farmers? Certainly hill farmers in Wales do not consider their future to be rosy or in any way safeguarded on Britain's entry into the Common Market.

Sir F. Maclean

I have myself heard my right hon. Friend the Minister give what seemed to me to be firm, specific assurances on this point, and I am quite prepared to accept them. I do not think that there is any harm in reminding my right hon. Friend of them every now and again, and perhaps he will be good enough to repeat them at the end of the debate.

When I was listening to my right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Sir Robin Turton), I was surprised that he, too, cast doubts on the future of hill fanners. I feel that the future for the hill farmer is fairly rosy. In fact, I should have said that it was rosier than that of some other farmers because, after all, hill farmers are not as dependent as others are on bought-in high-priced feeding-stuffs. For the most part they are dependent on grass which they grow themselves.

The hon. Member for Carlisle (Mr. Ron Lewis) mentioned higher prices. My belief is that the increase in prices about which we have all been told, and about which the Government have been quite frank, will be more than offset by the reduction in taxation that will be made pos- sible by phasing out the existing support scheme which costs the taxpayer about £150 million a year.

Hon. Members opposite keep suggesting that CAP only exists to subsidise inefficient French farmers. I do not think that there could be any greater mistake. For one thing, the greater part of agricultural expenditure is on market support which will benefit our farmers just as much as it will the French, and then, as European farming is progressively rationalised, as it will be under the Mansholt Plan, less money will be required for relatively inefficient farmers, or for farmers with uneconomic units, and an increasingly high proportion of the common budget will be available for regional policies, industrial development and other similar causes which should be as close to the heart of the hon. Member for Renfrew. West (Mr. Buchan), as they are to mine.

Already considerable progress has been made in this direction. In the' fifties and' sixties, despite a reduction in the area of land used, and despite a sharp reduction in the labour force—about 40 per cent.—there has been a large increase in agricultural productivity in Europe.

That is partly the result of increased investment, in machinery and stock, but also the result of technological advance and of rationalisation. This is a process which is continuing, and will continue, and it seems to me that in the long run this is bound to lead to a more prosperous European agriculture industry and to a corresponding increase in the funds available for other purposes.

During the debates that we have had on the Clause I have once again been struck by three things. First, by the deep dislike and distrust shown by right hon. and hon. Members who oppose entry of the Governments, countries and peoples who compose the Community, with all of whom incidentally we are already allied under NATO and WEU.


9.30 p.m.

Mr. Arthur Lewis

On that point, did the hon. Gentleman see in yesterday's Daily Express that the Dutch Queen made a speech recently in which she said that she would like to see an increase of Atlantic alliance activities in the EEC countries, which very much upset President Pompidou? He was very annoyed with Her Majesty the Dutch Queen. It would appear that the EEC is not so much in favour of the Atlantic alliance as the hon. Member is saying.

Sir F. Maclean

I am grateful to the hon. Member because that brings me to the next point.

Mr. Buchan

This suggestion should be rebutted. Nothing has been said from this Front Bench or on this side of the Committee about a dislike of the European people. On the contrary, our argument is that what we are defending is as much in the interest of the European people as it is in our interest.

Sir F. Maclean

Then the hon. Gentleman has not made clear what he is defending. I am grateful to the hon. Member for West Ham, North (Mr. Arthur Lewis) for raising this question about the Queen of the Netherlands, because the second thing that amazes me is the refusal of opponents of entry to accept that Europe is not monolithic and, once we are in Europe we shall be able to influence policy just as much as and probably more than anyone else. The right hon. Member for Workington spoke of Dr. Mansholt and his affection for our Annual Price Review. That is an indication that once we get into the Community there is a hope that the right hon. Member may, if he is lucky, even be able to get something like his dear old Price Review again. He also mentioned structural changes which had been advocated in Europe. These are things that, once we get in, we shall be able to work on, but hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite do not seem to accept this.

The last thing that struck me was the complete failure of opponents to entry to advance any sort of alternative policy or alternative solution for agriculture or anything else.

The Temporary Chairman (Mr. Bryant Godman Irvine)

Mr. Johnston.

Mr. Russell Johnston


Mr. James Johnson


Hon. Members

Which one?

The Temporary Chairman

Mr. Russell Johnston.

Mr. Arthur Lewis

Common Market preference!

Mr. Russell Johnston

The right hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Peart) in his speech today asked how it was that the Liberal Party could ever find itself defending the common agricultural policy and I want to say something about this, because it is right that I should.

Before doing that, there are two points to which I wish to make passing reference. The first is this question about the lack of time because of the guillotine. I honestly think there is a little bit of humbug creeping into the debate. I have attended most of the debates, and there are certain faces I am getting to know very well, and they are a fairly limited section. They are not particularly noteworthy for being handsome, but they are certainly noteworthy for their faithfulness. If this debate were galvanising the whole Committee, the attendance tonight would be rather different.

The second question to which I want to refer briefly is that of parliamentary control, which has arisen tonight as it has in the debates on many Amendments to other Clauses at other times. I want to touch for an instant on Amendment No. 268, proposed by the right hon. Member for Workington, though he did not particularly dwell on it. That Amendment was concerned with the following part of the Clause: subject to the direction and control of the Ministers, with such functions as they may from time to time determine"— that is to say, that the Convention Board shall operate— subject to the direction and control of the Ministers, with such functions as they may from time to time determine". The right hon. Member wanted to substitute for the word" they" the word" Parliament", which one would have thought was very fair and reasonable. I shall not embark upon the argument about whether it is necessary that that be fitted into the Bill. But I remind the right hon. Gentleman, for whom I have a great respect, that a Select Committee on Agriculture was set up in his time with the objective and intention of endeavouring to exercise some control of the executive of the time, of which he was a member. That Select Committee did not last particularly long, because the executive resisted it—and the right hon. Member was a member of that executive. In talking about and criticising the control of the executive, let us not be one-sided. The right hon. Gentleman, in his day, was responsible for snuffing an attempt to do what he is seeking to write into the Bill.

Mr. Elystan Morgan

I was a member of that Select Committee. Would the hon. Member accept my assurance that that Committee sat for about nine months and assiduously dealt with the question before it, namely the adequacy or otherwise of Her Majesty's Government's preparations for entry into the European Economic Community? The Committee compiled a full report. It was only when the Committee was embarking upon a further and different study and when there was a problem of staffing numerous Select Committees then sitting that it was decided that it would be only proper to enable the resources of the House to be redirected to another subject.

Mr. Johnston

With great respect, I think that after the nine months the child tended to be aborted rather than born.

I refer briefly to fishing, which is extremely important. The hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, North (Mr. McNamara), if I remember correctly, referred to the "terrible nationalism about limits" which is affecting us. Here there is a need to work out in Europe a rational conservation policy related to the reliance of existing fishing communities on working grounds. Whereas the commencement of the fishing negotiations disturbed me deeply, as it disturbed a great many other hon. Members, I think that the final outcome was not unreasonable and that the future is probably on our side.

Turning to the common agricultural policy, which is what we are talking about basically, three factors are involved: first, the farmers, the producers; second, the consumers; and third, the country generally. Generalisations about agriculture are very dangerous because one needs to talk about agriculture commodity by commodity. I notice that the right hon. Member for Stafford and Stone (Mr. Hugh Fraser) has returned to the Chamber. I thought that his rhetoric rather outran his reason during his contribution to the debate.

Mr. Arthur Lewis

It was the other way round, the reverse.

Mr. Johnston

I shall return to some of the right hon. Gentleman's points shortly. I do not think he would deny that the general reaction of the agricultural community towards entry into Europe—I admit that there are variations according to the commodity—has been favourable.

Mr. Lewis

Who said so?

Mr. Johnston

My own National Farmers Union, for a start.

Mr. Lewis

Yes, but the hon. Gentleman will agree that the agricultural workers' union also has some interest in the agriculture industry. The hon. Gentleman cannot say that it is all right for only the farmers to speak. Those who work in agriculture also have a union, the views of which count just as much as, if not more, than those of the NFU. The agricultural workers' union is not in favour.

Mr. Johnston

All I said was that in the main the producers are in favour.

Mr. Lewis

No, they are not.

Mr. Johnston

Why was there a CAP in the first place? First, there was a problem in the number of people working on the land in Europe, particularly in France and, to some extent, in Germany. The right hon. Member for Workington said that there was still a terrible amount of peasant farming in operation in Europe. Indeed, the CAP has been largely directed towards reducing this. In that sense, the CAP has had a social or regional objective which should not be overlooked or forgotten. It reduced the number of people in agriculture in the Community between 1958 and 1971 by 7½ million. That is a lot of people. It was a considerable social upheaval which had somehow or other to be supported and covered in that way.

Secondly, there was the attempt at self-sufficiency in temperate foodstuffs. There has been a lot of talk about that, and I will return briefly to that matter in a moment.

Thirdly, there was the attempt to raise the living standards of farmers in Europe to the living standards of the industrial workers. That was not an unreasonable objective.

What about the objections and the criticisms of the CAP with so many hon. Members have made? Many of them are valid, but I find it increasingly difficult to see what else the Governments in the Community could have done when faced with the problem with which they were faced. There is the criticism of the surpluses, which has not been heard so often in the debates today. It has not been such a serious problem in the last year, but it has at times undoubtedly been a serious problem. There is the question of high prices; but the fact is that high prices were the rule rather than the exception in the Community, by comparison with ourselves, before the Community was instituted. With great respect to hon. Members, there is a fair amount of humbug in the argument about the cheap food policy.

Mr. Arthur Lewis

From the Liberals, that is something.

Mr. Johnston

Let me develop my argument briefly. We accept that indirect taxation bears more heavily on the poor than does direct taxation.

Mr. Lewis

The old Liberals will turn in their graves.

Mr. Johnston

I wish that the hon. Gentleman would return to his grave. Equally, in logical terms it could well be argued that a cheap food policy is a subsidy to the rich within the Community, and, to a large extent, to the rich in the producer countries abroad. In the end it seems to be much more rational to reach reality in terms of food prices and to compensate for that through credit taxation. I am happy to see that the Chancellor is moving in that direction.

It is all very well for us continually to talk about the underdeveloped countries and, indeed, the Commonwealth. I shall not argue whether the EEC contributes more than we do. One can exchange statistics about that for a long time, but it is marginal. The amount that the developed world gives to the underdeveloped world is very little. If hon. Members pop up and down and complain that we are creating a protectionist agricultural community in Western Europe, that may well be true, but at the end of the day hon. Members often say that we must have the tomato growers, the peach growers and all the other sectors protected. In other words, it is all very well that the richer members of the world should show their sympathy for the underdeveloped world, but in reality we have all done very little. There is not much substance in that argument.

One of the basic risks to farmers in this country of the cheap food policy is that if any Government were faced with a recession they would readily and quickly—it has happened before—allow in cheap food from outside and allow the farmers to face the consequences. That risk exists, and it all the more exists when one is dealing with the farming community which represents only 3 per cent. of the population. That is a risk which many NFU people have emphasised to me from time to time.

Mr. Deakins

Will the hon. Gentleman explain how keeping out cheap food from overseas in a recession in some way protects the interests of the majority of the community who obviously benefit from cheap food?

Mr. Johnston

I do not deny that. I am saying that, from the point of view of the farmers, the producers, to allow in a mass of cheap food obviously affects their income. Of course it is advantageous to the majority of consumers.

Despite the shortcomings of the CAP, we should not overlook the social benefits that it has brought to many people in Western Europe. The most effective speech I can recall throughout all the debates on this subject was that made quite early on by the hon. Member for Berwick and East Lothian (Mr. Mackintosh) in which he pointed to the difficult areas of France and Germany and posed the question: is it not right that any Government or organisation should seek to relieve these people of their poverty and ease them into a new situation as best they can?

Mr. Marten

Why should the British pay for it?

Mr. Johnston

That is the next question, which the hon. Gentleman, who has been consistent in his views throughout, so rightly poses. The only answer which can fairly be given is that, although we are giving in this area, elsewhere we hope to be taking. When we enter the Community we cannot expect to have every single thing we want, much as certain hon. Members might wish it. We are entering Europe in the hope and belief that it will be advantageous to this country and will enable fair decisions across Europe. Whereas in the immediate future the CAP will undoubtedly prove quite expensive, equally the possibilities of increased industrial exports and potential gain from a developed regional policy, of which little has so far been spoken, should, if everything is fair, balance things out.

I readily admit that the CAP was designed to suit the Six. After all, they designed it. That means axiomatically that it does not suit us. It can be argued, as the Liberals argue, that if we had gone in earlier it might have been different. However, I do not see that it could have been all that different because the problem remains. If we want to take this step, we must take it now and adapt, as can be done.

It is not, as the right hon. Member for Workington and hon. Members on both sides who are against the idea of entry are prone to say, a question of Brussels telling us what to do. If we are involved in Brussels, we are a party to any decision. It is not a question of somebody outside telling us what to do; it is a question of a decision being arrived at, to which we are a party.

Mr. Arthur Lewis

It is not. We are 10 per cent. of the whole.

Mr. Johnston

In ideal terms there will be a continuing argument about protectionism and the fact that the agricultural community is a relatively close community. In the end I believe the Community's prosperity depends on effective free trade; so it cannot, even if it were so minded, pursue a narrow policy of protectionism as that would be cutting off its nose to spite its face. I do not believe that will happen. I believe that, despite its shortcomings, the common agricultural policy is part of the total package of Europe and is worth supporting, which is why I am doing so.

Mr. Brocklebank-Fowler

I agree very much with the major part of the speech of the hon. Member for Inverness (Mr. Russell Johnston). I can only speak for the farmers of Norfolk in saying that they look forward with great enthusiasm to going into the EEC and benefiting from the higher farm gate prices which will be available to them.

Many of us on both sides of the Committee recognise that the common agricultural policy has some considerable disadvantages, but I think also that those of us who have visited Brussels have increasingly become of the opinion that the officials there are beginning to recognise the need over a period to change the common agricultural policy as the social situation in Europe changes. As the proportion of agricultural workers on the land is reduced, so they realise that it will be necessary to replace a policy which up to now has suited Europe but which they recognise will not suit it entirely in the future. From the point of view of timing, it is not a bad time for us to go in when Europeans are beginning to recognise the shortcomings of their existing policy and are anxious to benefit from our experience of running a quite different policy in quite different circumstances. It follows, therefore, that the contribution that our officials in Brussels will be able to make will be considerable and of great benefit to the Community as a whole over a long period.

I want to ask my right hon. Friend some questions which I feel sure will be of interest to the Committee as a whole. Many of us welcomed his exposition of the details of the new Intervention Board's structure and functions and also his undertaking that the board will maintain close links with industry through various advisory committees. I hope that he will be able tonight to spell out how many of these committees there will be and what their functions will be. I hope he will consider—I am sure he already has—whether horticulture is a section of the agricultural industry which might not benefit particularly from being serviced by such a committee.

In particular, I would like to know how my right hon. Friend intends that the Intervention Board should act to intervene against short-term market disruptions. He is on record as having pledged the Government to act very swiftly to deal with short-term market disruptions for horticultural produce, and I should be interested to know whether he envisages that one of the advisory committees should be part of the price-watching machinery which will be so essential if action is to be taken swiftly to deal with threatened disruption coming from imported horticultural produce.

I hope that my right hon. Friend will go into these and related matters in some detail because some of us were disappointed that the debate on the first Amendment we discussed today was somewhat truncated in the middle of what was for us the most vital part of today's proceedings.

Mr. Roland Moyle (Lewisham, North)

There are few arguments in favour of the common agricultural policy, but possibly the hon. Member for King's Lynn (Mr. Brocklebank-Fowler) made one of them. I would not be positive about that, however, because I am no expert in argiculture policy. I have not trespassed in the debates of the Committee before today because I am completely confident in the ability of my right hon. and hon. Friends to maintain the argument with verve and distinction until the whole idea of joining the Common Market is finally sunk. But this is one of the crunch issues of the Bill.

The Division list in tomorrow's HANSARD will be more than ordinarily important, because, however many arguments they seek to advance, hon. Members who vote for the Clause will be voting for the infliction of high food prices on the British people; and there will be no dodging that fact in the years ahead. People will peruse the Division list tomorrow over many years ahead to see who voted for high food prices and who voted against them and for our present highly intelligent policy of low food prices. The electorate will want to deal summary electoral justice to right hon. and hon. Members who voted for high food prices as they realise what is involved in the policies which the Government are endeavouring to force on the nation.

I do not speak for the farmers. All my farming relatives are Welsh hill farmers. If Scottish hill farmers are happy with the common agricultural policy, Welsh hill farmers are not. But I speak for the people I represent, who are basically urban dwelling people. Most of us on this side of the Committee, and indeed most right hon. Members opposite, represent that sort of people. There are no benefits to be obtained by this country from the adoption of the common agricultural policy for people who live in the great manufacturing and commercial cities of this country. They will be substantial losers. They have not an iota of hope of gaining from start to finish.

What strikes me as the ultimate in lunacy is that we are in a position, as no other country in Western Europe is, to choose between good cheap food from certain overseas countries and high priced food from Europe, and yet, on the advice and leadership of their right hon. Friends, hon. Members opposite are deliberately choosing a high price policy. Why? I have heard no argument which satisfies me that that is an intelligent policy, even for Conservatives. As the right hon. Member for Stafford and Stone (Mr. Hugh Fraser) pointed out, it caused a great deal of turmoil in the Conservative Party years ago. I cannot understand how the Labour Party could possibly vote for a high food price policy. If the Labour Party means anything, it means that it is the party which looks after the less fortunate people whose margins are narrower than those of many others. They have most to lose from a high food price policy. They are the people who live in the cities.

At the moment we get cheap food from producers all over the world. It has been said that this is a result of the exploitation of toiling masses throughout the world. Not long ago, in company with the hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. Marten), I visited Canada. The hon. Member can bear out every word that I say. In Canada, where there is one of the great granaries of the world, there are two or three acres unfilled for every acre of wheat which is tilled. However efficient the European wheat producers become, the Canadians and Americans will always be able to beat them because they have the resources, the right type of agriculture and the climate which will enable them to do so.

The United States has a largely self-sufficient economy. They have made tremendous strides and advances over the last few years in the production of food from their great farmlands in the Middle West. America is a tremendously efficient agricultural nation. It has large agricultural surpluses, and it is willing to export them at a cheap price to this country, if we want to buy them, and to the rest of Europe. Yet we are deliberately excluding the import of food from that part of the world, to the great disadvantage of our own people.

10.0 p.m.

So it is not a question of exploiting toiling masses in other countries across the world. Cheap food can be provided by people with a very good standard of living to enhance the standard of living of the British working people.

What is to happen? As the right hon. Member for Stafford and Stone said, Britain has a rate of inflation which is historically higher than anything I can remember. Against this background we are deliberately to force up food prices in Britain by as much, overall, as about 50 per cent. in the end. That will lead to what? Right hon. and hon. Members come to the House of Commons day after day, week after week, month after month, preaching the doctrine that we must not have inflationary policies and that we must get rid of inflation. Yet they themselves, by their own action, are taking the biggest step to impose an inflationary situation on Britain of anybody from Lands End to John o'Groats. The biggest contribution which could be made to inflation has been made by right hon. and hon. Members opposite.

Several million people in Britain have such a low income that if prices rise they have no alternative but to seek some more money from somewhere. In a very large number of cases, though in not as many as I would like, they go to their trade union branch and say "We must have an increase in wages to survive on our present low subsistence levels of money." In many cases that is what it is. They must make every penny and every halfpenny count.

Against this background, which leads to inflation, the Government are giving matters a further and more savage twist. If our food prices are to rise, wage claims will increase. Anybody who studies the history of Britain from 1945 to the present day and says that such wage claims will not be conceded even by right hon. Members opposite has a very peculiar view of British economic history since the war. As prices rise, so will wages rise. As wages rise, so will our export prices rise. This is what right hon. and hon. Members opposite always tell us. This is inevitably what will happen.

We shall have a devaluation some time within the next year or two. There is no doubt about that. The purpose of a devaluation is to reduce the price of our exports, but it is also to raise the cost of our imports and to raise the cost of living for the British people, with yet further consequences. This is the inevitable result of the policy of right hon. and hon. Members opposite as evinced in the Clause.

In view of what right hon. and hon. Members opposite have said over the past few months, I find the whole policy totally incomprehensible. In the light of the interests of the British nation, I find it totally incomprehensible. In the light of the interests of my constituents, I find it totally incomprehensible. In the light of everybody who lives in cities and eats food, I find it totally incomprehensible.

The hon. Member for Inverness (Mr. Russell Johnston), if I understood him correctly, said that if we ran into difficulties the Government would import cheap food from overseas. I hope that the hon. Gentleman is right. What I would like the Minister who winds up to do is to say "Yes" to the proposition put by the hon. Member for Inverness, because if the Minister can say "Yes" to that proposition a whole new situation arises. Therefore, I shall await with considerable interest to hear the Minister say that if we run into difficulties we shall import cheap food en masse from overseas, come what may, under the agricultural policy of Europe.

Mr. Charles Morrison

The hon. Member for Lewisham, North (Mr. Moyle) said that he found the EEC agricultural policy incomprehensible, but if he took the trouble to do his homework a little more it would be a good deal less incomprehensible to him. He indulged in much scaremongering about the effect on food prices when he should know full well that the rise in prices which will be attributable to Common Market entry will not amount to more than ½ per cent. per annum in the cost of living index during the transitional period.

Mr. David Stoddart (Swindon)

I do not know whether the hon. Member believes that, because very few other people do. Did he read the article in the Sunday Times a fortnight ago, in which the British Society of Food Manufacturers challenged the figure and asked for a meeting with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, which was refused? If he has not read the article, I recommend it to him.

Mr. Morrison

Anybody has the right to challenge the figures, as many have challenged them here today. But on the best evidence which is available to my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, the figure which I gave is believed to be correct and I have no doubt that in the course of time it will prove to be so.

Obviously there are some farmers who are against a CAP and who oppose British entry. But from what we have heard in the debate they must come mostly from such places as Walthamstow, Wythenshawe, Workington or Wales.

Mr. Farr

And Leicestershire.

Mr. Morrison

I said, "mostly". I wonder why? Although the CAP is not perfect, and I am the first to admit that in the way that many leading Europeans in recent months have said they would like to see a gradual evolution of the policy, opposition to the CAP stems not least from a misconception about what it is intended to do. It is called the common agricultural policy but, as the hon. Member for Inverness (Mr. Russell Johnston) quite rightly said, it is a policy concerned not merely with agriculture but also with regional development and social policy.

It sets out to achieve the aims of Article 39 of the Treaty of Rome, but it must be considered in conjunction with Article 92.

Article 92 is not the bogy which some people, including my right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Sir Robin Turton), have made it out to be. Only last week I heard an exchange between a Common Market official and another person about Article 92. My right hon. Friend may remember the occasion. The official was asked whether production grants for the hill areas were compatible with Article 92. From his answer I gained the impression that he probably had not even read the Treaty and certainly had not read the Article; and even if he had read it, he did not care very much what it said.

I found that answer encouraging because to me it meant that the officials of the Common Market were interested in interpreting the Articles and terms of the Treaty of Rome as liberally as possible. I had the opportunity to discuss the Article with the official concerned afterwards and he told me that he did know what it said, but that what was important was the interpretation put upon it. He said that if it could be argued that competition was perfect, the production grants and other subsidies would not be allowed, but if it were not perfect they could help to make competition more nearly perfect. That was the gist of his argument.

Even if it can be argued that competition is in any sense perfect in the hill areas or elsewhere, the paragraphs of Article 92, which say that certain aids shall be compatible with the Common Market and certain other aids may be considered to be compatible with the Common Market, seem to me to make it possible to continue with the production grants in the hill areas or elsewhere as long as we wish to do so.

Because of the treble objective of the common agricultural policy, it is almost bound to be an imperfect instrument in a number of ways. It is bound to be a compromise, and it is designed for the Six and not the Ten. I believe that it is developing, and that it will evolve still further. The recent directives approved by the Council of Ministers demonstrate that. It is also worth while contrasting the ability and desire of the Commission and the Council to evolve their policy with the ultra-conservative approach of the right hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Peart) towards the old agricultural policy which is to become outdated in this country.

I believe that British entry into the Common Market and the common agricultural policy will be of benefit to the whole of agriculture, including the farmers, farm workers and ancillary industries.

Mr. Buchan

The speech of the hon. Member for Devizes (Mr. Charles Morrison) has illustrated something of the entire weakness of the case we have heard today. What he said was to the effect that the common agricultural policy does not mean what it says anyway; that if it does, we shall get someone to give it a liberal interpretation—

Mr. William Ross (Kilmarnock)

If he does not read it.

Mr. Buchan

—and that if we do not get away with that we shall join in order to destroy it. I have not been convinced by the arguments of Conservative Members. Incidentally, I believe I should congratulate the hon. Gentleman on having become Chairman of the Conservative Party Agriculture Committee—Gold help us.

I think the hon. Gentleman said that entry would mean an increase in the cost of living of half of 1 per cent. a year. I assume that he based that on the estimate of 2½ per cent., now modified to 2 per cent., as the increase in food prices. But he should have listened more care fully to Questions on Tuesday, when his right hon. Friend the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food was asked about the meaning of that 2 per cent. He said, "Of course, I do not really mean that." It is not the first time he has said that sort of thing. He said that about the Prime Minister's promise to cut prices at a stroke, saying that his right hon. Friend did not mean that either. On Tuesday he said that he did not mean it when he assured the British people that entry will result only in a 2 per cent. increase in food prices. He said: Pensioners are not being asked to accept the assurance that the hon. Gentleman —my hon. Friend for Oldham, East (Mr. James Lamond)— has mentioned. He was referring to an assurance that the cost of food will go up by only 2 per cent. a year. The official estimate of the difference between our prices and Community prices, or of adopting Community prices, is not intended as a forecast of what will happen to food prices over the next few years. It is intended merely to show the difference which will apply each year between our prices and Community prices."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 20th June, 1972; Vol. 839, c. 224.] So this whole argument about the 2 per cent. in our prices, leading to a ½ per cent. increase in the cost of living, has nothing to do with food prices or the cost of living but is merely to do with the price gap between Community prices and our own over that period. The Minister has been conning the country, as the White Paper has been conning the country, and people have seen through it. That is the first point which should be stressed.

10.15 p.m.

Second, farming policy is much more important than any consideration of whether it helps the farmers of Norfolk alone. The hon. Member for King's Lynn (Mr. Brocklebank-Fowler), the other hon. Member who stressed the value of the EEC on the grounds that his farmers in Norfolk will benefit, should do two things. He should analyse the figures for his own farmers a little more closely, but, even more important, he should recognise that farming is not primarily for farmers. Farmers recognise this, too. It is for farmers in so far as farmers are members of the whole community, but farming is for the sake of the whole community.

As soon as we try to defend a policy on agriculture which is based upon only one section of the producers in that industry, we are running into trouble. Above all we are running into trouble in an industrial country where 3 per cent. only of the labour force is based upon farming and the large majority of them are employed in farming and are not the farmers themselves. That is neglecting what the problem is all about.

This is the worst indictment of the British acceptance, unmodified, of the common agricultural policy—that it is based upon a peasant community which even today still has 14 per cent. of the labour force on the land. It is a policy directly contrary to the interests of a country which is primarily an industrial and trading nation. This is the principal crime which the Government have committed in accepting the CAP without achieving basic amendments. That is why it should not be accepted by Britain.

But the policy itself does not make sense by any standards. This is a policy on which the Six have got themselves hooked. We have heard some of the reasons for this today. No hon. Member defended it on agricultural arguments. The only argument put forward was that it was a useful substitute for a proper social policy. In fact, the policy itself makes no kind of sense.

What the policy does is to tax people for the benefit of paying high prices. There have been protectionist policies in the past, but very rarely has there been a protectionist policy which both used protection to push up prices and then taxed people in order to pay for those high prices, so that people were paying both, and then used that taxation in order to export the surplus. This has never been done before. It is crazy in terms of the true European agricultural needs, and it is dangerous and serious in terms of world trade and the distortions that it causes in world trade.

I clearly remember the hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. Marten) expressing his horror when he discovered that part of the purpose of the Community budget was to finance the exporting of rice, when so many of the impoverished areas of the world depend upon the export price of rice. This is why the policy is bad even on its own terms.

But the policy is defended by hon. Members opposite on one basis—that it is a good social policy. We are told that the social policy will help the poor peasants. The policy has been in operation for many years and it has been singularly inefficient in achieving that. If it is such a good social policy I cannot understand why Dr. Mansholt is feverishly trying to change it.

That social policy drives many of the poorer peasants off the land not because it is a co-ordinated social policy of the kind we write into our hill land schemes. It drives the peasants off the land because they cannot achieve enough income to enable them to stay there. Therefore, it has not been an efficient social policy.

This is no way in which to handle an agricultural policy. If a social problem is being dealt with, the resettlement of peasants who cannot make an income from a certain acreage or quality of land, it should be dealt with by social measures. One should not cripple an agricultural policy and create a problem in terms of the Community budget to deal with a social problem. I doubt whether the agricultural policy will solve even the social problem. We may treat the problem with sympathy, but what we should be doing is trying to maximise the amount of disposable food at prices people can afford.

The policy is wrong for Britain for two other reasons. I see no reason why, because a fairly wealthy Europe has a particular social problem, we should be asked to pay for it. If Europe wishes to solve that social problem at its own expense, fair enough, but we are being asked to finance the cost of the Community budget at the rate of 31 per cent. Western Europe is not poor. Indeed we are told that we should each be £7 a week better off if we were in the Common Market. If the people of Europe wish to use their wealth to solve that social problem in this peculiar manner, fair enough, but there is no reason why Britain should be asked to solve it in that way.

Apart from the food costs, our actual contributions to agriculture will be about £450 million. If we want to export our generosity to other agricultural areas let us use it in Asia or in India. I have been reading of the tariff problems which will face India when the United Kingdom joins the Six. Indians are worried about the lack of adequate safeguards for essential Indian interests, and that is bound to affect exports to the United Kingdom. If we are to spend this money on solving a social problem, let us spend it on a social problem for which we have responsibility, which is not true of Europe.

I have referred to the cost of £450 million, but we all know that it will be nearer £700 to £800 million per annum. In the absence of the Prime Minister, we are discussing a policy which will add that amount to our balance of payments at the time when we are looking at the tapes to see what is happening to the pound, just as we used to some years ago. The Prime Minister in his usual petulant fashion blames everyone but himself for the fact that talk of devaluation is in the air. It is extraordinary and quite indefensible that we should be facing a cost of this size.

Another factor is that of the interminable cost spiral. I started by referring to the rubbish put out by the Chairman of the Conservative Party. The position in regard to the cost of food needs to be emphasised. What has been happening is not so much that the food policy adopted by the Minister of Agriculture has been designed to cushion entry into the Common Market—and we have in mind the dramatic rise in costs which will face all consumers—as that we are now reaching a stage which would have seemed quite incredible two years ago.

Only two years ago we remember election meetings attended by housewives who were worried about the cost of food when we entered the Common Market. We all remember the popular question that was asked, and the Prime Minister used it only two days before he won the election. The question related to the cost of food. Now only two years afterwards we see a headline in the Daily Telegraphof Tuesday, 20th June, Rising prices may endanger market, Britain is warned. The article went on to say: A warning that a sharp acceleration in prices and costs might prevent the expected economic expansion in the Common Market, with Britain as a member, was given by the Market Commission in a report to Treasury officials. Presenting the report, it said it was worried about the acute rise in prices in Britain. It shows that in the period January to April this year there was a 7.5 per cent. rise in consumer prices"— —that is, three times the rise in the same period last year. Therefore, the Common Market officials themselves are worried about the rising prices in Britain, and we are being told by the Common Market that these may endanger the future possibility of growth.

What a situation! We are told that we must accept the rising costs of foodstuffs and the crazy common agricultural policy, and it is emphasised that this is a burden we must accept because it will mean growth once we get into the Common Market. But, before we even get into the Market, we find that the policies leading up to entry, with all the increasing costs is worrying even the Common Market countries since they feel that it will prevent them from achieving growth. The whole policy has become self-defeating.

I want briefly to refer to the effect on farmers. I turn to an argument which was expressed by the hon. Member for King's Lynn and also by the hon. Member for Bute and North Ayrshire (Sir F. Maclean) to the effect that sectors of British farming will benefit. The question of hill fanning has been dealt with by other hon. Members on this side of the Committee. Certainly no hill farmer I have encountered believes he has a major future in the Common Market.

This also applies to the cereal growers. They have assumed as a reasonable figure about £7 or £8 a ton increase on cereals. If there is a 30 million ton production, this will mean an increased income—if this were the only problem—of £90 million to the cereal farmers, but two-thirds of that sum will go to livestock producers. That, in turn, has the effect of increasing the price of beef.

There will also be additional costs. We have seen the beginning of this trend in the cut in the fertiliser figure as set out in the Annual Price Review. One does not know whether this will be a £10 million or £20 million cut, but when this apparent bonanza is broken down it is not such a flattering and favourable figure.

Mr. Brocklebank-Fowler

The hon. Gentleman referred to my speech. I think it is also fair to assume that the pattern of growth of cereals which we have seen in the past is unlikely to be continued in the future. It is possible in my part of the world in West Norfolk that we shall see increased production of grass producing lower-cost feedstuffs for beef, to the infinite benefit of the hind by way of providing an essential break crop which may ensure that ensuing cereal crops are of a higher quality and a higher price.

[MR. E. L. MALLALIEU in the Chair]

10.30 p.m.

Mr. Buchan

One would have thought that they would have done this many years ago. That is an element of good husbandry. For the other year in which they are not growing cereals they are not getting the marvellous new cereal price increase. The £7 per ton that they were getting has not been given for that year. Let us not be drawn aside with that kind of nebulous argument.

In view of the timetable, I must come quickly to a halt. I refer to only two other matters. First, not only is the policy bad in itself, but it also cripples and hurts especially the poorer sections of our community. Through the Common Market policy and our involvement in contributing to the Community budget, and with the increased cost of food and goods as a result of buying from Europe instead of from our traditional suppliers, there is a transfer of about £500 million straight out of the pockets of workers, who receive an above-average wage of £35 per week and who have an average-sized family. The estimate is £504 million, but I take the round figure of £500million. Half of that goes directly towards the Community budget. The other half, £250 million, goes into the pockets of those earning £4,000 to £5,000 a year and more in this country.

Entrance to the Community means that our poor are being asked to subsidise the social problems of France and to subsidise the wealthy in this country to the tune of £250 million to each group. That is the final indictment of this policy.

I hope that the Minister behaves better than he did earlier today when he delivered a speech the like of which I had never previously heard during a Committee discussion. The material should have been published as a White Paper and should have been properly discussed. It would have been had it come from any other Department. When similar matters came from the Department of Trade and Industry, we had White Papers, for example, on industrial grants, and so on. But to use for this purpose the very scarce time available with this guillotined Measure—the Minister is a member of the Cabinet and supported the guillotine—seems to me a shocking misuse of the right hon. Gentleman's position. It is a piece of irresponsibility in a Minister—but perhaps, not an unaccustomed symbol of the present Government.

Mr. Prior

This has been a debate chiefly on the common agricultural policy. We have have heard at some length the Opposition's views on that policy. It is extraordinary how different the Opposition's views are now from what they were when the Labour Party was in Government.

Mr. Peart

Not at all.

Mr. Prior

I remember well that in a debate in 1967 the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition was talking about having to come to terms with it. I remember well what the right hon. Gentlemen now Lord George-Brown—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh, no."] Oh, yes. The noble Lord, who is still about, although some hon. Gentlemen would like to forget him, said: Some of the changes we shall be called on to make, particularly in the field of agriculture, will be very considerable. The right hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Peart), in opening the debate on the Question, That the Clause stand part of the Bill, appeared to have forgotten what was in the White Paper. The right hon. Gentleman was a member of the Cabinet at the time. [HON. MEMBERS: "No"]. It is all very well for hon. Members opposite to say, "No". The right hon. Gentleman has been criticising us all day. Let him sit there and take it for a minute or two. Paragraph 43 of that White Paper states: For the purposes of illustration, an attempt has been made above to show on various assumptions what the cost of the common agricultural policy might have been for the United Kingdom if we had been a party to the recent agreement by the Community on agricultural financing. But of course we were not, and in the negotiations it will be necessary, not only to settle our starting contribution to the Fund, but also to settle the transitional arrangements under which we approach paying our full share of the recently agreed Community financing arrangements which will be changing from year to year. If that is not acceptance of the common agricultural policy, I should like to know what is.

Mr. Peart

I explained, in dealing with Lord George-Brown's statement, which he made at the Hague when he was Foreign Secretary, that we always reserved our position on the common agricultural policy. That has been stated. When I presented my White Paper to the House and participated in the debate, I defended our agricultural system and put objectively some of the problems which faced the country, and particularly the consumer. I was strongly criticised by hon. Members for doing so. The record is there for hon. Members to read. I do not know why the Minister is making heavy weather of this.

Mr. Prior

The hon. Member for Walthamstow, West (Mr. Deakins), in an earlier debate this afternoon, said that we should observe one minute's silence for the end of the bipartisan agricultural policy—as if we had had a bipartisan agricultural policy for years. I have not noticed it, and I have been around for a few years. If we should have had one minute's silence for the end of the bipartisan agricultural policy, we should have had at least five minutes' silence for the end of a bipartisan EEC policy.

The Opposition are schizophrenic. They have spent the whole of this debate, first, arguing that the farmers will do badly because their prices will not rise and, secondly, arguing that prices will go sky-high. They had better make up their mind which way they want it.

As my hon. Friend the Member for Bute and North Ayrshire (Sir F. Maclean) and the hon. Member for Inverness (Mr. Russell Johnston) fairly pointed out, there are enormous opportunities for British agriculture to expand, to produce more to fill our home market and to export, too. The vast majority of British farmers are longing to have the opportunity to get on with the job. They have made an extraordinary good start in the last 18 months.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Sir Robin Turton) asked me a number of questions to which I should like to reply briefly. My right hon. Friend asked me, first, what would happen to wool. Wool is not covered by the common agricultural policy, and we are perfectly at liberty to keep on with our deficiency payment arrangements for wool if we wish to do so. I have no intention of making changes at the moment.

My right hon. Friend and other hon. Members also asked me about hill farming. The Government are satisfied that we shall be able to give the assistance needed to maintain reasonable incomes in our hill farming areas. I have only recently arranged for the subsidy scheme to continue. I can tell my right hon. Friend that we recognised the special problems of the hill farms. We think that our method of supporting the hill farms through the hill cow and hill sheep subsidy has been extremely good and we wish to carry it on.

We have been fortified in this desire by what both Dr. Mansholt and Signor Scarascia-Mugnozza have recently said on this subject. Signor Scarascia-Mugnozza, on a recent visit to Scotland, said: I firmly intend to stand by the commitment that Dr. Mansholt gave in a truly European spirit. There is no reason why aid for the hill areas of Britain should not be maintained if Britain enters the Common Market. The Treaty of Rome allows the EEC to adopt special measures for special situations. Different regions or areas must be considered in their own right and situations must be examined as they arise, because solutions to problems can be found as long as there exists a common will to solve them. I have no doubt that we shall be able to continue our support for the hill areas.

Sir Robin Turton

Will my right hon. Friend confirm what my hon. Member for Devizes (Mr. Charles Morrison) said about Article 92 not meaning what it says?

Mr. Prior

I missed what my hon. Friend said. I was out of the Chamber at the time. However, I know that there is a good deal of flexibility in the interpretation of some of the Articles.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton asked about capital grants versus cheap interest rates. At the moment cheap interest rates are national, not Community, policies. I have noted the views of the CLA on the merits of capital grants versus cheap interest rates. We are not proposing any changes at the moment, nor are we under any pressure to make changes. The negotiations which took place in Brussels following our Price Review and the Community's Price Review left the position very much as it is now.

My right hon. Friend asked about the way prices will rise during the transitional period. We shall move our farm gate prices up to Community levels in six stages spread over five years in approximately equal stages each year. Of course, as the market price exceeds the guaranteed price, so the guaranteed price will be phased out.

My hon. Friend the Member for King's Lynn (Mr. Brocklebank-Fowler) asked about horticulture. We have an understanding that if there is widespread disruption to our market we can go to the Management Committee in Brussels and it will be up to the Commission, on the advice of that Committee, to decide whether action is necessary. We do not move our tariffs until the end of 1973 or the beginning of 1974, so that we shall have time to work this out. Methods of intervention are available which can be operated by producer groups operating, as it were, in conjunction with the Intervention Board. I will write to my hon. Friend and give him further details.

Sir Derek Walker-Smith (Hertfordshire, East)

Will my right hon. Friend— —

Mr. Prior

I have only five minutes more. I have given way a great deal already.

Sir D. Walker-Smith

I was about to ask whether I might have a copy of the letter which my right hon. Friend is to write to my hon. Friend the Member for King's Lynn (Mr. Brocklebank-Fowler).

Mr. Prior

I turn to the general criticisms of the common agricultural policy. First, I should like to deal with the very robust speech of my right hon. Friend the Member for Stafford and Stone (Mr. Hugh Fraser) and the accusation by one hon. Gentleman about what I have said on food prices. I assure the Committee that what the Government have said about rises in food prices due to entry into the Community is exactly the same as in the 1970 White Paper and has been worked out on the same basis as was used for that White Paper. At that time we said that on the basis of the present price differentials at the wholesale stage, and making certain assumptions about distributive and retail margins, the retail price index for food might be 18 to 26 per cent. higher than it would otherwise have been, and this would result in a 4 to 5 per cent. increase in the cost of living index. Since then, the figures have changed, but the same

basis has been applied throughout and the figure is now 12 per cent. [Interruption.] I have been accused of trying to rig the figures.

10.45 p.m.

Mr. Shore


Mr. Prior

I have no time to give way. I have been giving way all day.

Dealing also with high prices, of course we should like to see prices in the Community stabilised, as, for that matter, we should like to see prices stabilised everywhere. But one cannot, before joining the Community, have a great deal of influence over all the prices to be charged. Once one becomes a member, at least one will have some say in deciding the prices.

I come to the subject of world trade, about which my right hon. Friend had a good deal to say. The common agricultural policy and the Community are having their effect on world trade and they will go on doing so whether we are a member of the Community or not. If we want a better world, we must play our part in it—and those are not my words but the words of the Leader of the Opposition in speaking of the common agricultural policy in 1967.

Lastly, I take issue with my right hon. Friend on the question of peace. I certainly could not for one moment accept his version of the wars of Europe and the prospects of peace for this country or for Europe. I am 100 per cent. a pro-Common Marketeer. I have no doubt that our membership will be of great benefit to Britain and to Europe. The common agricultural policy will be changed over a period of years; it is an evolving policy and it has rendered great social benefit and great benefit generally to the farming communities of Europe. As such, we should support it and not keep on damning it.

Question put, That the Clause stand part of the Bill: —

The Committee divided: Ayes 272, Noes 267.

Division No. 241.] AYES [10.50 p.m.
Adley, Robert Astor, John Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton
Allson, Michael (Barkston Ash) Awdry, Daniel Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone) Benyon, W.
Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian Balniel, Lord Berry, Hn. Anthony
Archer, Jeffrey (Louth) Batsford, Brian Biggs-Davison, John
Blaker, Peter Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Osborn, John
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.) Hannam, John (Exeter) Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.)
Boscawen, Robert Harrison, Brian (Maldon) Page, Graham (Crosby)
Bossom, Sir Clive Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Page, John (Harrow, W.)
Bowden, Andrew Haselhurst, Alan Parkinson, Cecil
Braine, Bernard Havers, Michael Peel, John
Bray, Ronald Hawkins, Paul Percival, Ian
Brinton, Sir Tatton Hayhoe, Barney Peyton, Rt. Hn. John
Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher Hicks, Robert Pike, Miss Mervyn
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Higgins, Terence L. Pink, R. Bonner
Bruce-Gardyne, J. Hiley, Joseph Price, David (Eastleigh)
Bryan, Paul Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.) Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L.
Buchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus,N & M) Hill, James (Southampton, Test) Proudfoot, Wilfred
Buck, Antony Holland, Philip Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis
Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Holt, Miss Mary Quennell, Miss J. M.
Campbell, Rt. Hn. G.(Moray & Nairn) Hordern, Peter Raison, Timothy
Carlisle, Mark Hornby, Richard Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James
Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert Hornsby-Smith,Rt.Hn.Dame Patricia Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter
Channon, Paul Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate) Redmond, Robert
Chapman, Sydney Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.) Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.)
Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher Hunt, John Rees, Peter (Dover)
Chichester-Clark, R. Iremonger, T. L. Rees-Davies, W. R.
Churchill, W. S. James, David Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David
Clark, William (Surrey, E.) Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford) Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Clegg, Walter Jessel, Toby Ridley, Hn. Nicholas
Cockeram, Eric Ridsdale, Julian
Cooke, Robert Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead) Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey
Coombs, Derek Johnston, Russell (Inverness) Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.)
Cooper, A. E. Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.) Roberts, Wyn (Conway)
Cordle, John Jopling, Michael Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)
Corfield, Rt. Hn. Frederick Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Cormack, Patrick Kaberry, Sir Donald Rost, Peter
Costain, A. P. Kellett-Bowman, Mrs. Elaine Royle, Anthony
Critchley, Julian Kimball, Marcus St. John-Stevas, Norman
Crouch, David King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.) Sandys, Rt. Hn. D.
Crowder, F. P. King, Tom (Bridgwater) Scott, Nicholas
Dalkeith, Earl of Kinsey, J. R. Sharples, Richard
Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford) Kirk, Peter Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Knight, Mrs. Jill Shelton, William (Clapham)
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Maj.-Gen. James Knox, David Simeons, Charles
Dean, Paul Lambton, Lord Sinclair, Sir George
Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. Lamont, Norman Skeet, T. H. H.
Digby, Simon Wingfleld Lane, David Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)
Dixon, Piers Langford-Holt, Sir John Soref, Harold
Dodds-Parker, Douglas Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Speed, Keith
Drayson, G. B. Le Marchant, Spencer Spence, John
du Cann. Rt. Hn. Edward Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Sproat, Iain
Dykes, Hugh Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)
Eden, Sir John Longden, Gilbert Stainton, Keith
Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Loveridge, John Stanbrook, Ivor
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Luce, R. N. Stewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper)
Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,N.) McArthur, Ian Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)
Eyre, Reginald McCrindle, R. A. Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.
Fenner, Mrs. Peggy McLaren, Martin Stokes, John
Fidler, Michael Maclean, Sir Fitzroy Stuttaford, Dr. Tom
Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead) Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham) Tapsell, Peter
Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton) McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest) Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Fookes, Miss Janet Maddan, Martin Taylor,Edward M.(G'gow,Cathcart)
Fortescue. Tim Madel, David Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)
Foster, Sir John Mather, Carol Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)
Fowler, Norman Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald Tebbit, Norman
Fox, Marcus Mawby, Ray Temple, John M.
Fry, Peter Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret
Galbraith, Hn. T. G. Meyer, Sir Anthony Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)
Gardner Edward Mills, Peter (Torrington) Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.)
Gibson-Watt, David Miscampbell, Norman Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)
Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.) Mitchell, Lt.-Col.C.(Aberdeenshire.W) Thorpe, Rt. Hn. Jeremy
Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.) Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Tilney, John
Glyn, Dr. Alan Money, Ernle Trafford, Dr. Anthony
Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B Monks, Mrs. Connie Trew, Peter
Goodhart, Philip Monro, Hector Tugendhat, Christopher
Goodhew, Victor Montgomery, Fergus van Straubenzee, W. R.
Gorst, John
Gower, Raymond More, Jasper Vaughan, Dr. Gerard
Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.) Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh) Vickers, Dame Joan
Green, Alan Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm. Waddington, David
Grieve, Percy Morrison, Charles Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Griffiths. Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds) Mudd, David Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)
Grimond, Rt. Hn. J. Murton, Oscar Wall, Patrick
Grylls, Michael Neave, Airey Walters, Dennis
Gummer, Selwyn Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael Ward, Dame Irene
Gurden, Harold Normanton, Tom Warren, Kenneth
Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley) Nott, John Weatherill, Bernard
Hall, John (Wycombe) Onslow, Cranley Wells, John (Maidstone)
Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally White, Roger (Gravesend)
Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William Woodnutt, Mark
Wiggin, Jerry Worsley, Marcus TELLERS FOR THE AYES
Wilkinson, John Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R. Mr. Kenneth Clarke and
Winterton, Nicholas Younger, Hn. George Mr. Hamish Gray.
Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
Abse, Leo Foley, Maurice Mahon, Simon (Bootle)
Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis) Foot, Michael Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)
Ashley, Jack Ford, Ben Marks, Kenneth
Ashton, Joe Forrester, John Marquand, David
Atkinson, Norman Fraser, Rt.Hn.Hugh(St'fford & Stone) Marsden, F.
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Fraser, John (Norwood) Marshall, Dr. Edmund
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Freeson, Reginald Marten, Neil
Barnett, Joel (Heywood and Royton) Gilbert, Dr. John Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood Ginsburg, David (Dewsbury) Mayhew, Christopher
Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Golding, John Meacher, Michael
Bidwell, Sydney Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C. Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert
Biffen, John Gourlay, Harry Mendelson, John
Bishop, E. S. Grant, George (Morpeth) Mikardo, Ian
Blenkinsop, Arthur Grant, John D. (Islington, E.) Millan, Bruce
Boardman, H. (Leigh) Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside) Miller, Dr. M. S.
Body, Richard Griffiths, Will (Exchange) Milne, Edward
Booth, Albert Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, Itchen)
Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)
Boyden, James (Bishop Auckland) Hamling, William Moate, Roger
Bradley, Tom Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill) Molloy, William
Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,W.) Hardy, Peter Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)
Brown, Hugh D. (Glasgow, Proven) Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)
Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury) Hattersley, Roy Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)
Buchan, Norman Heffer, Eric S. Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon)
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn) Hooson, Emlyn Moyle, Roland
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Horam, John Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas Murray, Ronald King
Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.) Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Oakes, Gordon
Cant, R. B. Huckfield, Leslie Ogden, Eric
Carmichael, Neil Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey) O'Halloran, Michael
Carter, Ray (Birmingham, Northfield) Hughes, Mark (Durham) Oram, Bert
Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles) Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.) Orbach, Maurice
Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara Hughes, Roy (Newport) Orme, Stanley
Clark, David (Colne Valley) Hunter, Adam Orr, Capt. L. P. S.
Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.) Irvine, Rt. Hn. Sir Arthur (Edge Hill) Oswald, Thomas
Cohen, Stanley Janner, Greville Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton)
Coleman, Donald Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas Padley, Walter
Concannon, J. D. Jeger, Mrs. Lena Paget, R. T.
Conlan, Bernard Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) Palmer, Arthur
Crawshaw, Richard Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford) Panned, Rt. Hn. Charles
Cronin, John John, Brynmor Parker, John (Dagenham)
Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.) Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange)
Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.) Pavitt, Laurie
Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.) Jones, Barry (Flint, E.) Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred
Dalyell, Tarn Jones, Dan (Burnley) Pendry, Tom
Darling, Rt. Hn. George Jones,Rt.Hn.Sir Elwyn (W.Ham.S.) Pentland, Norman
Davidson, Arthur Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen) Perry, Ernest G.
Davies, Denzil (Llanelly) Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.) Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Judd, Frank Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.
Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.) Kaufman, Gerald Prescott, John
Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove) Kelley, Richard Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Deakins, Eric Kerr, Russell Price, William (Rugby)
de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey Kinnock, Neil Probert, Arthur
Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund Lambie. David Rankin, John
Dempsey, James Lamond, James Reed, D. (Sedgefield)
Doig, Peter Latham, Arthur Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)
Dormand, J. D. Leadbitter, Ted Rhodes, Geoffrey
Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.) Leonard, Dick Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Douglas-Mann, Bruce Lestor, Miss Joan Roberts, Rt.Hn.Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Driberg, Tom Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold Robertson, John (Paisley)
Duffy, A. E. P. Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.) Roderick, Caerwyn E.(Br'c'n & R'dnor)
Dunn, James A Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees)
Dunnett, Jack Lomas, Kenneth Roper, John
Eadie, Alex Loughlin, Charles Rose, Paul B.
Edalman, Maurice Lyon, Alexander W. (York) Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)
Edwards, William (Merioneth) Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.) Rowlands, Ted
Ellis, Tom Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Russell, Sir Ronald
English, Michael McBride, Neil Sandelson, Neville
Evans, Fred McCartney, Hugh Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)
Ewing, Harry McElhone, Frank Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)
Farr, John McGuire, Michael Short,Rt.Hn.Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)
Faulds, Andrew Mackenzie, Gregor Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)
Fisher, Mrs. Doris(B'ham,Ladywood) Mackie, John Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)
Fitch, Alan (Wigan) Mackintosh, John P. Sillars, James
Fitt, Gerard (Belfast, W.) Maclennan, Robert Silverman, Julius
Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston) McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.) Skinner, Dennis
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) McNamara, J. Kevin Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)
Spearing, Nigel Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin Whitlock, William
Spriggs, Leslie Urwin, T. W. Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Stallard, A. W. Varley, Eric G. Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham) Wainwright, Edwin Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Stoddart, David (Swindon) Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints) Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Strang, Gavin Walker, Harold (Doncaster) Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)
Swain, Thomas Wallace, George Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Thomas,Rt.Hn.George (Cardiff,W.) Watkins, David Woof, Robert
Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery) Weitzman, David
Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.) Wellbeloved, James TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Tinn, James Wells, William (Walsall, N.) Mr. Walter Harrison and
Tomney, Frank White, James (Glasgow. Pollok) Mr. Joseph Harper
Torney, Tom Whitehead, Phillip

Question accordingly agreed to.

It being after Eleven o'clock, The Chairman left the Chair to report Progress and ask leave to sit again, pursuant to Order [2nd May].

Committee report Progress; to sit again tomorrow.

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