HC Deb 15 February 1973 vol 850 cc1431-2
4. Mr. Charles Morrison

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food by how much animal feedingstuffs raw materials have increased in price between June 1972 and the latest date.

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

Between June 1972 and the end of January last cereal prices rose by about 40 per cent., while prices of animal and vegetable proteins more than doubled.

Mr. Morrison

Does that not demonstrate yet again one of the problems attached to stabilising food prices? Can my hon. Friend say what effect this situation is having upon farmers' profit margins?

Mr. Stodart

It is a fact that various foodstuffs, none of them grown in this country, have risen by immense figures. Cotton cake has risen from £46 to £105 and groundnut cake from £55 to £131. This will undoubtedly have a considerable effect on farmers' profits. That matter is taken into account in the annual Price Review.

Mr. McBride

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that these prices are rising scandalously and that poor harvests in other countries cannot be blamed entirely? Does he accept that the small to medium-sized poultry farmer, and even the pigeon fancier, is being hit hard in obtaining supplies of food for his birds? In these days of instant Government can the Minister say why it should take the Parliamentary Secretary five weeks to answer two letters of protest over food prices which I have sent to her?

Mr. William Price

Nine weeks.

Mr. Stodart

The last question has nothing whatever to do with the Question on the Order Paper. The poor world crops of groundnut and soya have everything to do with the rise in prices.