HC Deb 21 March 1973 vol 853 cc449-51

CEREALS 1. The cereal year will be brought into line with that used under the common agricultural policy, i.e., a year beginning on 1st August instead of 1st July as at present. To effect this change, the 1973–74 cereal year will run from 1st July 1973 to 31st July 1974—a "13-month" year. 2. Guaranteed prices will in future be determined in £ per ton instead of £ per cwt. 3. Target indicator price arrangements for wheat and barley will be abolished with effect from 1st July 1973. 4. As announced on 7th March 1973, the rye guarantee is to be terminated with effect from 1st July 1973.

SUGAR BEET 5. For the 1973 crop, if production from the guaranteed acreage (443,000 acres) exceeds the quantity of beet needed to produce 900,000 metric tons of white sugar for which the British Sugar Corporation is obliged to pay the minimum beet price under Community arrangements, the Government will make up to the guaranteed level the average return for any additional beet from that acreage. 6. Producers have hitherto received a guaranteed price for beet delivered to the factory and have had no rights to the resulting pulp. Under Community arrangements they will receive a minimum price for beet delivered to "collecting centres" (normally at or near the farm gate); the ownership of the pulp remains with the grower, but it may be offered to the processor for purchase separately. The National Farmers' Union and the British Sugar Corporation have agreed on values for delivery to the factory and for the pulp rights. The 1972–73 guaranteed price of £8.00 per ton on the old basis is taken to be equivalent to £6.71 on the new basis. The guaranteed price for 1973–74 is expressed accordingly on the new basis. 7. The guarantee for sugar beet will be terminated with effect from 1st July 1974.

FAT CATTLE 8. As announced on 7th March 1973, the guarantee for fat cattle is to be terminated with effect from 26th March 1973.


9. The estimated price for the year as a whole will be 27.0p per lb estimated dressed carcase weight. With effect from 26th March 1973, new scales of weekly standard prices and weekly estimated prices will be introduced and these scales will be adjusted to take account of the expected market situation for the year. The estimated price arrangements will be adjusted so that if the average market price realised should fall short of the estimated price in any week by more than 2½p per lb estimated dressed carcase weight, the guarantee payment would then be subject to a corresponding reduction, up to a maximum reduction of 1½p per lb estimated dressed carcase weight.

FAT PIGS 10. As announced on 24th January 1973, the flexible guarantee is to be discontinued with effect from 26th March 1973. 11. The use of a feed formula in establishing the standard price will in future be discretionary, so that the arrangement may be terminated at a suitable time. The new guaranteed price is related to a feed price of £2.53 per cwt., which is deemed to be equivalent to 1,000 points on an index representing the price of a feed ration. For every movement of 5.3 points from 1,000 points (equivalent to about l.33p per cwt.), the guaranteed price will be adjusted by 1p per score.

MILK 12. The standard quantity for Northern Ireland will be increased by 22 million gallons to 142 million gallons.

EGGS 13. The estimated producer prices for 1973-74 will be 15.0p per dozen for hen eggs and 155p per dozen for duck eggs. 14. Guarantee payments will in future be made on eggs graded to the Class A standard under Community arrangements instead of the first quality standard under previous arrangements.

CALF SUBSIDY 15. The rates for Calf Subsidy Stage A will be reduced to £8.50 a head for steers and £6.50 a head for heifers for calves born on or after 16th April 1973. Payments at these reduced rates will not start being made until he autumn when calves born after 15th April will first become eligible for subsidy. 16. The rates of subsidy at Stage B will not be affected by these changes during the life of the present scheme.

FARM CAPITAL GRANT SCHEME 17. The standard rate of grant will be reduced from 30 per cent. of approved capital expenditure to 20 per cent. This new rate of grant will apply to all applications for approval received after 21st March 1973. 18. There is no change in the special higher rates of grant for drainage, for certain works and facilities of benefit to hill land or hill farms, for re-modelling work consequent upon a farm amalgamation or boundary adjustment, or for certain orchard grubbing work.

GENERAL 19. Many of the above changes are subject to parliamentary approval.