HC Deb 23 October 1973 vol 861 cc971-2
Q3. Mr. Skinner

asked the Prime Minister if he will appoint an expert on world-wide weather conditions to the Central Policy Review Staff.

The Prime Minister

No, Sir. Such advice is available from the Meteorological Office.

Mr. Skinner

Does that mean that the Prime Minister will no longer blame unusual climatic conditions, such as snow in Siberia, sun in Africa and rain in Manchester, for the astronomical rise in food prices? Shall we hear him at the next General Election declaring loudly to Leicester housewives "We intend to cut prices at a stroke, weather permitting"?

The Prime Minister

I might well be able to give a fuller explanation than the hon. Gentleman has given. Of course, he is right—it was a lack of snow on the Steppes which brought about the poor harvest in the Soviet Union and in China, it was floods in the major soya bean producing area which affected feeding stuffs and it was frosts in Brazil which affected coffee plants. Perhaps even the hon. Gentleman has not realised that many of our problems with animal feeding stuffs are due to the drop in fish meal supplies following a sudden change in the direction of the warm current off Peru.

Sir Gilbert Longden

Must it not always be borne in mind that, in the lamentable and unlikely event of the hon. Member's party becoming the Government, no weather expert will be necessary because we shall know that we shall all be soaked all the time?